Sprinting to the finish line –Commencement 2019

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 29, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

I wake up every morning to NPR’s Morning Edition….for many years now. A change is coming — after 40 years, the tune BJ Leiderman composed in 1979 is being replaced by a new jingle on Monday, May 6, 2019. Click on the youtube link below and cherish the soon-to-be-replaced 60-second theme song for NPR’s morning edition. It’s been with us for so long; this is all I knew since I started listening to morning edition in 1988 as a foreign student at USC.

Last day for this version of the morning edition theme song. Cinco de Mayo 2019

It is good to be back home after two weeks of travel which started with the Non-Credit Conference in San Diego. We had a BC team present and engaged by doing our planning to create more opportunities for adults with low academic skills to onboard and complete a certificate which will give them the necessary skills for an entry-level job.

I had a lot of fun keynoting at the CACCRAO conference in San Diego. This is the statewide organization for Admissions and Records professionals, and our Director, Michelle Pena is the current Vice President. She is super smart and has a keen mind for system fixes. Michelle was there with Jackie Lau and Erineo Garcia.

2019 ACCJC Partners in Excellence Conference: What the Future Holds

ACCJC’s bi-annual conference was held in San Francisco this year. I was there primarily in my role as a commissioner and the current Vice Chair of the commission. However, we had a large team from BC doing two presentations at this conference and it gives me great joy and pride when I watch “my peeps” presenting.

Kim Nickell, Kristin Rabe, Jessica Wojtysiak, Janet Fulks, Sonya Christian, Lesley Bonds, Amber Hrioch, Steve Waller

At the opening session of the ACCJC conference, I had the pleasure of introducing the former Under Secretary of Education, Dr. Martha Kanter. Dr. Kanter now leads the College Promise Campaign nationally which focuses on higher education affordability and accessibility.

Dr. Kanter speaking at the ACJCC Conference

Dr. Kanter has made many contributions to higher education, most notably her work on equity, innovation, and accountability. Her work is grounded in the conviction that education is not only an economic imperative but more fundamentally a civic imperative; and that education is necessary to individual freedom and essential to a healthy society and a vibrant democracy.

Kristin Rabe, Kim Nickell, Amber Hroch, and Steve Waller presented on how BC is engaged with Program Review and Program Planning that drives institutional resource allocation. A data informed process, the Program Review process has not only brought transparency to our work, but has helped us determine priorities more effectively.

Amber Hroch, Kim Nickell
Kristin Rabe, Steve Waller

Jessica Wojtysiak and Lesley Bonds presented on BC’s work on Guided Pathways with a focus on “It takes Leadership” from all constituent groups to make this happen.

Here are some other pictures that I snapped. Enjoy!

Jessica Wojtysiak, Amber Hroch, Sonya Christian, Kristin Rabe, Kim Nickell
Sonya Christian, Daisy Gonzales, Sabrina Sencil, Terrence Willett

BC partners with CSUB

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, over 40 administrators, faculty, and staff from both CSUB and Bakersfield College met to discuss and plan for programmatic collaborations at the new BCSW Center co-located on the CSUB campus. The synergistic teamwork evident at this meeting is indicative of this exciting partnership between BC and CSUB, and of our shared commitment to our students and community. It’s a great time to be in Bakersfield!

BC represented at African-American Town Hall with State Chancellor Oakley

Last week BC’s Steve Watkin, Outreach Director; Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja faculty lead; Jonathan Ward, Umoja Counselor; and Daron Mackey, AAI Ed Advisor attended the Fresno Town Hall & College Fair.  There, state Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley urged community members to support Central Valley leaders who are advocating for changes that result in higher success rates for African-American students. “We need you to push,” Oakley said “because what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working.”

Fresno Town Hall & College Fair Agenda

“Friction has to happen around college completion,”Oakley advocated, adding that “we have to get to the point where we put the needs of the students above the needs of employees and staff.”

Chancellor Oakley
Tweet from California Community Colleges on the Fresno Town Hall

He cited the passage of AB 705 as a positive step in increasing equity for students of color. The law, which goes into effect this fall, will allow most community college students to start at college-level English and math.

Steve Watkin, Dr. Paula Parks, Chancellor Oakley, Jonathan Ward, & Daron Mackey

The Fresno event was sponsored by the California Community College Black and African-American Advisory Panel and featured information on financial aid (Icanaffordcollege.com), attending a Central Valley community college, and transferring to a CSU or Historically Black College or University (adegreewithaguarantee.com).  The Advisory Panel was created in 2017 to increase the graduation and transfer rates of African-American students in support of Oakley’s Vision for Success. They are planning other events around the state to share information and gather feedback. Oakley joked at the end that the Community Colleges will not have an admissions scandal because “we take the top 100% of all applicants.”

Daron Mackey, Jonathan Ward, Dr. Paula Parks, & Steve Watkin
Steve Watkin

Celebrating Judge Tafoya at Kern Literacy

Judge Robert S. Tafoya was honored as a Read for Life Award Recipient at the 2019 Kern Literacy Council Celebration. Former KCCD Chancellor Sandra Serrano, Judge Tafoya’s spouse, was in attendance to celebrate her husband’s passion for reading and his service as a Kern Literacy Council tutor for the past four years. In addition, a group from Bakersfield College joined the festivities. Pictured in the photo below are Traco Mathews and Krista Herrera (KCSOS), Abel Guzman and Pearl Urena (BC), Sheri Horn-Bunk (Taft), Elaine McNearney (Dress for Success), Romeo Agbalog (KCCD Trustee) and Liz Rozell (BC). Liz Rozell was also able to connect with longtime friends, Fred and Cynthia Brakeman (KHSD Trustee).

BC and Community Leaders at Kern Literacy Event

Presidential Investiture at CSUB

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny

A festive CSUB Presidential Investiture took place Friday morning, May 3rd, in recognition of Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, fifth President of California State University, Bakersfield and the first female president. She was recognized and honored by many, including Mayor Karen Goh, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and CSU Chancellor Timothy White. The processional included student leadership, delegates from educational partners, and CSUB faculty and staff.

Mary Barlow (Kern County Superintendent of Schools), Doc Ervin (Superintendent of Bakersfield City School District), Kevin Silberberg (Superintendent of Panama-Buena Vista Union School District), Liz Rozell (VP of Instruction, BC), and John Means (Vice Chancellor, Educational Services, KCCD)
Mariachi band from the BCSD Migrant Program

63rd Annual Honors Celebration Rocks this Year’s Scholars!

On April 26th, the Outdoor Theater pulsed with the energetic beats of our BC Drumline as they drummed for our 2019 class of scholarship and award recipients at the 63rd Annual Honors Celebration.

BC Drumline performing

This year, nearly 400 outstanding Renegades were named for over $494,000 in scholarships and awards, capping off a demanding academic year with some exciting financial awards.

Attendees at the Honors Celebration

Tom Gelder, the Executive Director of the BC Foundation and SGA President Ashley Harp, welcomed students and their guests to the festivities, expressing his gratitude for the many donors, faculty, and staff that made the evening possible.

Prior to the reading of names, BC Alumna and Foundation Board Member, Connie Perez-Andresen inspired students with an emotional keynote that demonstrated the power of self-belief and finding a career path that speaks to your heart.

The BC Foundation team

The memorable evening ended with a sweet goodbye as hundreds of freshly baked cookies arrived, provided by our very own BC Food Services.  Be sure to check out all of the photos of the event!

All current and future Bakersfield College students are encouraged to apply for scholarships again, later this year, on October 1st, coinciding with the opening of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit the website for details.

2019 Student Employees of the Year

On Thursday, April 25th, the Office of Student Life held its annual Student Leadership and Involvement Awards Ceremony.  The awards included “Student Employee of the Year” that recognizes exceptional contributions to their office or department during the academic year. The award was jointly given to Jasmen Taylor and Rico Carrillo from the BC Tutoring Center.  Congrats to Jasmen and Rico!

Jasmen with the medallion to be worn at commencement in 2020!  

Thank you to Student Life for recognizing the importance and dedication of our student employees!  Additionally, thank you Student Employment for facilitating the hiring of student employees!

McFarland Early College 8th Grade Application Workshop

This past week, our Early College team went out to McFarland Junior High School to prepare students for the Early College journey that they will embark on at McFarland high School next Fall. All 8th graders completed a BC application and now have their BC ID numbers, which will streamline the process for getting them enrolled in their first dual enrollment course STDV B3 Career and Life Planning. It’s official, we have 280 new Cougar-Renegades!

Students at the Early College workshop
Students at the Early College workshop

To learn more about the Early College program at McFarland High School, please visit The Early College website.  

Students at the Early College workshop
Students at the Early College workshop
Students at the Early College workshop

BC Jazz Spring Concert

The BC jazz program held its spring concert in the Indoor Theater on Monday, focusing on standards from the 1930s while giving the audience a masterful performance of more modern music.

Students performing at the Jazz Spring concert

Jazz professor Kris Tiner said that this year’s program was the culmination of extensive study on the history of jazz. The Jazz Studies program is growing fast since its expansion in 2016, and the amazing performances made for an exciting night.

I’d like to thank Professor Tiner and the Jazz Studies program for putting together a beautiful evening of music.

Students performing at the Jazz Spring concert

2019 Kern High School District Physics Olympics at Bakersfield College Campus

The annual Kern High School District Physics Olympics was held last Friday at BC main campus. Sponsored by the Kern High School District and hosted by Bakersfield College the competition features the work of student teams from over a dozen high schools in Kern County in activities requiring skills and knowledge in theoretical and experimental physics and engineering. Eighteen different activities were held from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at various venues around the Bakersfield College campus, with over 1,000 high school students participating!

The efficiency bridge, where students design carts to successfully carry heavy loads across a bridge.
The magnetic field competition, where students make measurements and do calculations to determine the earth’s magnetic field at their location.
The spring constant competition, where students use measurements of the elongation of springs due to suspended masses to determine the spring stiffness coefficients.

Dual Enrollment Symposium Connects High School Partners and Bakersfield College

On Friday, April 26, the Dual Enrollment team hosted a symposium for over 85 local high school teachers, counselors and administrators.  The half-day event focused on helping high school partners understand responsibilities within a dual enrollment program, learn about resources available to support students, as well as opportunities to develop college and career pathways.

Breakout session participants

The Dual Enrollment Symposium opened with a welcome from Steve Watkin, Abel Guzman and Liz Rozell who emphasized the importance of partnerships in offering a successful dual enrollment program.  Breakout sessions provided for discussions, including one for STDV B3 Instructors and Counselors provided by Mark Osea, Victor Diaz, Hilda Rodriguez and Alma Feathers, that addressed the unique opportunity this course affords students to clarify their path.  High school administrators asked questions about infrastructure during a session hosted by Steve Watkin. Dr. Anna Laven, Raquel Lopez, Savannah Andrews and Kylie Swanson led subject-area instructor sessions with discussions facilitated by Chris McCraw, David Neville, Jennifer Johnson, Kris Stallworth, Jennifer Jett, Stephen Waller, Christian Zoller, Darren Willis, Robert Stewart, Creighton Magers, Michael Ivey, Jason Dixon, Jeremy Staat and Jason Stratton.  

Steve Watkin and Dr. Anna Laven present during a breakout session for Administrators

After working in small groups, attendees came together for presentations about student resources, academic resources, guided pathways, and a dual enrollment overview. Many thanks to Terri Goldstein, Bill Moseley, Kirk Russell, Lesley Bonds, Yvonne Armendariz, and Anna Laven for providing helpful information and resources.  Attendees were impressed to learn that they are part of the largest dual enrollment program in the state! Following lunch, Kylie Swanson provided student highlights and several teachers shared stories about their hardworking students.

Dr. Terri Goldstein and Dr. Anna Laven present on resources for Students with Disabilities
Dr. Anna Laven

Attendees from across the Bakersfield College service area indicated they found the symposium to be helpful and beneficial.  They came away with a better understanding of the value of dual enrollment and were excited to be a part of the program.

Kirk Russell
Kylie Swanson
Lesley Bonds
Vice President Liz Rozell
Steve Watkin
Yvonne Armendariz

Food Historian Ken Albala Visits BC

Food historian Ken Albala visited BC on Monday to provide context to the rising popularity of the artisanal food movement over the last few years. Albala is a professor of history at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, and he’s authored 25 books about the culinary arts, including “Cooking in Europe: 1250-1650”, “Food and Faith”, and “Three World Cuisines”, winner of a 2012 Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

Food historian Ken Albala

BC English professor Neal Stanifer first learned about Albala from “Food: A Cultural Culinary History Podcast,” which is a 36-episode series examining how food evolved throughout human history, from the Stone Age to the Digital Age. Stanifer listened to the whole series over the course of a weekend and was inspired to work with Levan Center Director Reggie Williams to bring Albala to campus. Several students from BC’s culinary arts and nutritional science programs showed up to hear Albala speak.

Food historian Ken Albala speaking

Albala opened his talk by asking the audience what they imagine what they see when they think of “bad” pizza, then to imagine what they see when they think of “artisanal” pizza. He then gave a history of the terms “artisanal” and “craft”, which used to mean different things but are now utilized the same way in contemporary marketing jargon – to convey food or beverages that are prepared by hand with fresh ingredients and a bare minimum of industrial processing.

Food historian Ken Albala speaking

After the Great Depression and World War II, the rise of canned goods, processed food and fast food was perceived positively as making life easier and preserving meat and produce longer. Increasingly, Americans have felt disconnected with their relationship to food, contributing to the increased popularity of farmers’ markets, organic produce, farm-to-table restaurants and independent breweries in the 21st Century. Major corporations have begun catching on to this trend, leading to the rise of “fast casual” restaurants such as Chipotle and Blaze Pizza which purport to be fresh or “artisanal” while maintaining the large-scale, industrialized philosophy of fast food. Beer companies such as Coors and Anheuser-Busch have also started buying out small breweries to distribute their products nationwide while marketing mass-produced brands such as Blue Moon and Shock Top as “craft” beer.

Audience members at the presentation

I’d like to thank Neal Stanifer and the Levan Center for organizing this informative event examining the culinary arts through the lens of the humanities. I’d also like to thank Ken Albala for driving down from Stockton to speak on our campus.

Food historian Ken Albala speaking

Transfer Celebration

On Thursday, BC celebrated students that continue to pursue further education and transfer to a four-year university during the Transfer Celebration in the courtyard between Financial Aid and the Indoor Theater.

CSUB staff member speaking to a student about transfer.

CSUB staff were also on hand to assist students transferring to CSUB, and BC Food Services provided catering and light refreshments for all who attended.

Food for attendees at the Transfer Celebration

BC offers a great program to help student receive two degrees in four years called Finish In 4, which encourages completion of both an Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree. Students in this program are guaranteed admission to CSUB after they finish 2 years at BC. Representatives from Finish In 4 were on hand to interact with students and provide more information about the program.

I would like to thank everyone who helped put on this event and congratulate all of the students who are continuing their academic career.

The Office of Student Life assisting at the celebration.

ENGL B24 Field Trip

This year’s ENGL B24 class had the opportunity to speak with Carol Jacques, a commissioner for the City of Los Angeles. She shared her story as a child of one of the many families displaced from her neighborhood by the city of LA for the construction of Dodger’s Stadium and her subsequent activism and organizing pre- and post-Civil Rights.

The ENGL B25 field trip attendees

The field trip was supported by funding from a Campus Collaborative Action Grant which allowed students to visit the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in the Olvera Street district of L.A., a point of cultural and historical significance in the development of Latino literary identity. That same day they went to the Ramona Pageant, California’s oldest running outdoor play, in Hemet, CA. Staging every spring since 1923, the play is based on the novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson and offers a theatrical interpretation of the novel’s literary glimpse into the Spanish days of California, its changing demography amidst westward expansion, and the mixing of indigenous and old-world cultures.

Emails Worth Sharing

Earlier this week Abel Guzman received an email from a student sharing her experience with one of Delano’s tutors in the reading and writing skills lab tutor Kim Collins.

When I began college it was suggested I attend school in Delano because I did not know how to write paragraphs and follow grammatical rules. I was at a 4th grade level.

However, I went on to become a journalist for our college newspaper. I also would become an editor for the paper. I would end up completing my AA in journalism last semester. This semester I completed my AA in communication. I was also awarded the Sigma Chi Eta distinction for being a honor roll student in communication.

The reason I shared this is to simply say how [Kim’s] faith in me when I was a returning student made a huge difference, along with a few other people who believed in me.

My tutor had said during a tutoring session that my desire to write a New York Best Seller was a ‘lofty goal.’  Well, my book is halfway finished. Although it may not reach that status, I won’t stop climbing. It’s desire, dreams and good tutors/educators that sure do keep them afloat!


Melissa Puryear

Kim Collins

I received an email from Manny Mourtzanos that at first had me panicking… and then laughing!

“Subject: Center for Disease Control Advisory! Measles hit Bakersfield

Good morning, Deans. Please be advised: The CDC stated that the measles outbreak in California has recently impacted Bakersfield and is so severe that it is even affecting vehicles! Just ask Liz!

Be ye all forewarned!!”

VP Rozell's truck covered in stickers

Fun Photos:

Shauna Turner graduates! Shauna is graduating with her bachelors degree this weekend. Her cap reads: Mom of 3 with a degree.

Shauna Turner in her cap and gown.

She has been diligently working on her BA since she started at BC 4 years ago. She uses her lunch breaks and late evenings after she puts her boys to bed to prepare for class, write her papers, and study for tests. Congratulations Shauna; you deserve it!!

Nestle Field Trip: Last week, students from the Delano HVAC program took a field trip to Nestle’s plant here in Bakersfield.  There the students were able to observe the operation and system components of “The Largest, Most Complex Ammonia Refrigeration System In the World”!!

BC Students at the Nestle plant
BC Students at the Nestle plant
BC Students at the Nestle plant
BC student at the Nestle plant
BC students at the Nestle plant

Chamber’s Leadership Bakersfield Program: BC’s Endee Grijalva is a member of this year’s Leadership Bakersfield class and unveiled her team project yesterday.  Her team renovated the Dream Center Bakersfield Infant and Toddler room to a safer and warmer space for these children.  Very cool!

Endee Grijalva & Tamara Baker
Endee Grijalva and teammate Sarah Hickock Levan
GBCC President Nick Ortiz introducing Team 2 and their project.
Norma Rojas-Mora, Endee Grijalva, Tamara Baker, Lupe Aguirre, Samantha Guillory, Evelyn Hernandez, and Abel Guzman at the project ribbon cutting.

CSEA Gold Tournament: Last Saturday a KCCD team supported CSEA at their annual golf tournament.  It looks like a rough day at work, but someone’s gotta do it!

Vice Chancellor Tonya Davis and her husband along with Fernando Lara and Tony Cordova

Ceramics Sale: Here are some fun photos of the amazing ceramics created by our very own BC students this year. They held a sale earlier this week where people could purchase the items created in the Spring 2019 semester.

Ceramics Sale board
Student ceramics for sale
Student ceramics for sale

It was great to see Bakersfield College featured in the Engine Professional magazine. Make sure to check out the Aera Tech Skills Conference hosted by BC on May 19th.

BC's ad in Engine Professional magazine

Memorial Stadium: I love this shot that Brandon Urry took this week of the Memorial Stadium construction!! WE ARE BC!

Memorial Stadium construction

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00 am, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments from BC Men’s Golf program and Athletic Trainer Mike Medeiros.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/21-4/27) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Renegades of the Week photo

Penelope Zepeda/Morgan Townson, Beach Volleyball – The pairs team finished 4th in the WSC “Pairs” conference championships and qualified for the CCCAA SoCal Regional “Pairs” Championships this Friday May 3rd at Irvine Valley. They will be attempting to qualify for the CCCAA State “Pairs” Championships May 10th and 11th in Chula Vista at the Olympic Training Center.

Justin Frando, Men’s Track and Field – Justin ran a personal record time of 1:55.59 in the 800m at the WSC Finals at Santa Barbara City College which placed him in 2nd place and qualified him for the SoCal Finals. He currently ranks 5th in the state in the 800m.

Renegade Athletics End of the Year Awards

Each year we are very proud of how hard our Renegade student athletes work — both in the classroom and within their respective sports. At the end of each academic season, we like to award those student athletes who have been key parts to their teams and lifted those around them. Below are the winners of each category of award for the 2018-2019 season:

Athletes of the Year

Female – Gabby Lugo, Cross Country/Track & Field

Male – Carson Olivas, Football

Career Achievement

Female – Kylee Fahy, Softball

Male – Jacob Whitby, Track & Field

Newcomer of the Year

Female – Daran Towns, Swimming

Male – Justin Harrington, Football

Individual Performance

Female – Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis

Male – Zach Williams, Baseball

Grit Award

Female – Brooke McDonald, Women’s Soccer

Male – Justin Solario, Men’s Swimming

Weight Room Warrior

Female – Jessica Merante, Women’s Volleyball

Male – Zach Hartsfield, Football

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring is heating up at BC

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 27, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Thinking of Sri Lanka

While the rest of the world was celebrating Easter Sunday with their families, the people of Sri Lanka were fighting a senseless tragedy.

As of Tuesday, more than 300 Sri Lankans were reported dead and 500 more were injured in a series of eight coordinated attacks on churches and hotels, according to an article by Vox. Six of the eight attacks happened in the capital city of Colombo, and attacks also occurred during Easter Sunday church services in Negombo and Batticaloa. The Guardian published a timeline and visual guide to the bombings, which are being blamed on terrorist groups seeking retaliation for the attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand in March.

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located southeast of the Tamil Nadu province on the Indian subcontinent and close to Kerala, the area where I grew up. I last visited Sri Lanka in 2011, and my heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones in the attacks.

Moments like this remind me of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated around the world in 2019. He elevated human consciousness by recognizing our infinite capacity for kindness and dignity to counter our species’ infinite potential for violence and devastation.

At BC, wellness and community are part of our core values, and our faculty and staff inspire thousands of students every day to be beacons of light out in their families and communities, spreading love, knowledge and kindness.

In the wake of senseless tragedies such as these, it’s important to consider ways that we can come together to build bridges even in our differences. The battle against hostility and divisiveness starts in our hearts, with our family and friends, in the classroom, outside the classroom — and education is the tool that can help us understand our differences and yet unify us as a people.

My mom and I spent Christmas 2011 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and split our time between Batticaloa and Columbo, Here is the 200-word piece featured in the 2018 Christmas Edition of The Bakersfield Californian.

Christmas 2011 with my mom Pam Christian in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Notre Dame Cathedral Catches Fire

Last week, the world mourned the partial destruction of a historical landmark, as Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames.

Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, most beautiful Cathedral in Paris.
The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is a French Gothic style church built to honor the Virgin Mary. Construction on the cathedral started in 1160 AD, and it’s considered one of the greatest architectural achievements in world history.

The roof of Notre Dame caught fire on the evening of April 15 and continued for 15 hours, causing significant damage. However, a lot of the core structure of the building was saved, and there were no deaths or injuries in the fire.

Thanks to approximately $1 billion in donations, the cathedral will be restored to most of its previous glory, but this historic building that has existed for more than eight centuries will never be the same.

Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference

Bakersfield College was extremely proud to be a part of this year’s annual Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, which was chaired by our very own Director of Communications Norma Rojas-Mora!  Norma put her heart and soul into this event, and it was easy to see her touch in so many different areas.

The Women’s Business Conference was celebrating its 30th anniversay and Norma asked me to introduce the video. Here it is.

The year was 1989. 

Imagine a group of women, twenty-something and thirty-something, coming together at the Home of the Renegades, talking about what it was like to be a women working in our community….. talking about work environments that may or may not have been supportive of women and mothers, talking about gaps in opportunities for women, about behaviors that were considered unacceptable only because you were a woman….talking about general societal issues of the time.

Imagine these women…exceptional professionals,  wanting to transform our community by  empowering all women, but particularly those who were young and just getting started in their professional career…..unleashing the power that is a woman –  helping women Believe in the Power of You.

Phyllis Hullett of Bakersfield College came up with the idea of a conference for women.   She was known to move with conviction, and once she started on a path no obstacle, however large, however daunting could deter her from reaching her destination. But Phyllis was certainly not alone.  She recruited co-conspirators, Lynn Hall, Kay Meek, Cindy Pollard, Sheryl Barbich, Cynthia Icardo, Judy Salamacha, and Mary Jo Pasek. These women became the co-leaders, the Mothers of the first Women’s Business Conference here in Bakersfield. 
The title – “Options Unlimited.”

To honor this 30-year anniversary and the founding mothers, we have a short video. Let’s quiet our minds, breathe in and out, and immerse ourselves in our history as told by some of the 7 visionary women leaders from our community, who first made it happen. 

Thank you Manny de Los Santos and Monika Scott for putting together this video.

I was also asked to introduce this year’s Keynote speaker, Shannen Doherty.  Here are excerpts…

I am here to introduce to you a woman who has grown up in the public eye….. no easy task.  A woman who has engaged with life fully, exuberantly, fearlessly, passionately, ….. and yet with a quintessential sense of openness and vulnerability.  

In 1991 young America fell in love with Brenda Walsh, the young woman who moved with her family from Minnesota to Beverly Hills where she tries to fit into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. 

In 1998 America was Charmed by Prudence “Prue” Halliwell, a powerful and responsible witch who protected the innocent and defeated the forces of evil.

In the past week, as the Shannen Doherty story unveiled itself to me through third party narratives, I discovered the sheer power and boldness in this “petite” 5 ft 4” person who appeared to mesmerize the world around her ….whatever world that might be at that time.

In the most recent chapter of her life, Shannen Doherty teaches us about overcoming severe adversity.   

Falling down is an inevitable part of life.  But getting up and engaging with life with a ferociousness when it appears that you don’t have a drop of life remaining in you….. now that is the story of our keynote speaker.

From becoming a child actress and financially supporting her family to building a booming television career, to receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis, and later slaying the disease and entering remission, Shannen Doherty is living proof that she is not defined by her lowest moments but by the absolute drive to lift up, take off and soar high.

I am also struck by her spirit of hope and gratitude…. Her propensity for creativity, her fearlessness in trying new things, and her bravery in sharing her journey. America fell in love with Brenda and Prue decades ago, but I find myself in awe of the woman Shannen Doherty is today: Survivor, animal rights activist….. inspirational and fearless.

And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire – and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears. [Post theshando, March 8, 2019..quote attributed to Mark Anthony]

Bakersfield, I give you the indomitable Shannen Doherty!

shannen doherty

In her honor, the conference focused on encouraging women to be proactive about their health and get mammogram screenings.  It is so easy for us to focus on others, our jobs, our families and forget about our own self-care.  I was extremely honored to be a part of an event with this message, and also very proud of all of the hard work Norma put in!  It was a wonderful event!

women's conference

Andrea Thorson was a rock star with her presentation. I had a young woman who rushed up to me and said that I had a great dean at BC and that she was just coming from Andrea’s presentation. We are BC!

Andrea Thorson

Early College Initiative Award Presented at SGA Student Leadership Dinner

For the first time, dual enrollment students were included in our annual SGA Student Leadership Awards Dinner. The Early College Initiative Award was created in a collaboration between our Dual Enrollment and Student Life departments to recognize high school students who have shown early initiative in taking college courses and starting on their college pathway. Out of many nominations that came in from across all high school districts, five finalists were selected to attend the awards dinner with their families, nominating instructor, and principal.

Osvaldo Casillas and Kathy Rowland
Kathy Rowland and Osvaldo Casillas

The first recipient of the award was Osvaldo Casillas from Mira Monte High School. He was nominated by dual enrollment instructor and BC English Adjunct instructor Kathy Rowland who wrote, “Osvaldo continuously demonstrates a keen dedication to attendance, thorough completion of assignments, and thoughtful contribution to class discussion/analysis.  For almost 4 years, he has strategized a plan for post-secondary education knowing that he will make strides in engineering to broaden opportunities both for himself, family, and his mother who has been detained in Mexico for an extensive timeframe. Nonetheless, he has found a method, a coping mechanism that harnesses all his personal struggles and heartaches into the surety of an academic pathway to success. He is one of the finest young men I have ever met in my 20 years of teaching.”

Mariano Balbueno with Mario Nunez and Susana Salazar (Counselor)
Left to right: Mariano Balbueno, Mario Nunez, and Susana Salazar (Counselor)

The second recipient was Mariano Balbueno from Delano High School. Mariano was nominated by his dual enrollment instructor Mario Nunez who wrote, “Mariano has completed a total of 10 dual/concurrent enrollment courses, and is currently working on four more during this second semester of his Senior year. He has earned a total of 32 general education credits towards an associate degree, all while he has been in high school.  At the end of his senior year, Mariano will have earned a total of 44 college units.”

Finalists with Early College Team
Early College Initiative Award finalists and the Early College team.

Both students received BCSGA student leadership medals that they will be able to wear with pride at their high school graduations this spring. As we continue to embrace our early college students into our campus culture, events such as this are such an amazing way to welcome our high school students into our Renegade family, and to show everyone on our campus just how much our students and our communities benefit from early college opportunities.

Second Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference

The 2nd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference took over the Panorama campus this week to honor the history of Chicano Studies programs and the 50th anniversary of the founding of MEChA.

This year’s conference was expanded to three days, packed with panels, speakers, art, music, and film celebrating Chicano culture. Octavio Barajas brilliantly organized all of the programming that happened between Tuesday and Thursday.

Jess Nieto was an activist, philanthropist, and instructor who founded the Chicano Studies program at BC in the 1970s. He also founded Heritage for America, a non-profit organization that helps immigrants with achieving citizenship.

When Nieto passed away just before his 70th birthday in 2017, a team of educators who were inspired by his contributions to BC and the Chicano community founded this conference in his name. The theme for this year’s conference was based on the MEChA motto of “Self-Determination for the Liberation of Our People.”

Corny Rodriguez speaking
Corny Rodriguez speaks passionately about MEChA.
Four students sitting at table with hands folded
Project Conexiones students Edith Mata, Jovana Espinoza, Jennifer Lule, and Erick Plata give a presentation in the Levan Center.

Students from the newly-created BC organization Project Conexiones talked about the founding of their group, which seeks to create a bridge between MEChA, LUPE, and other campus organizations that support Chicano and undocumented students through their education.

Three people sitting at table
Left to right: Dr. Mark Martinez, Steve Barber and Emily Gonzales host a panel on the life of Ray Gonzales, the first Chicano elected to state office in Kern County.

CSUB political science professor Mark Martinez spoke of Gonzales’ gregarious personality and told stories from his time as a CSUB social studies teacher toward the end of his life. Steve Barber, Gonzales’ campaign manager from 1972, talked about Gonzales’ important work in petitioning to redrawing the district lines in Kern County to maximize Latino representation, as well as conducting demographic research that would lead to the creation of Cal State Monterey Bay. Gonzales’ daughter Emily ended the panel with a tearful discussion of his passion and discipline for learning.

Two men standing by painting
Artist Jorge Guillen and Oliver Rosales pose with Guillen’s painting of Ray Gonzales.

After the Ray Gonzales panel, local artists Jorge Guillen and Juan X shared their poetry about the Chicano struggle. Guillen made a portrait of Ray Gonzales in honor of the conference and shared some of his murals in Rexland Acres Park. He also talked the influence that BC professors such as Jack Brigham had on his development as an artist.

BC Jazz ensemble
The BC Jazz Ensemble performs in the Administration Courtyard.
Man blowing trumpet
Kris Tiner performs with BC jazz students.
Man playing bongos
Louie Cruz Beltran performs with the BC Jazz ensemble.
Male and female smiling
Louie Cruz Beltran and Dolores Huerta

The first day of the conference moved to the Administration Courtyard, where attendees ate a delicious spread of enchiladas and tacos provided by Food Services. During dinner, the BC Jazz Ensemble performed in the courtyard with Louie Cruz Beltran, a percussionist, singer and BC alum who has played alongside Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Macy Gray, and some of the most famous entertainers in the world. Paintings of historic Chicano figures by Guillen, BC students and professor Diego Monterrubio were also displayed in the courtyard.

Girl painting portrait of woman
Male painting aztec head
Hispanic Latin painting artwork
BC professor Diego Monterrubio’s painting is displayed in the Administration Courtyard on April 23.

Day one of the conference concluded with a keynote presentation by Sean Arce, a teacher who revolutionized Chicano Studies instruction at the elementary and high school levels. He also represented Tucson high school students in challenging Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies instruction, which was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Arce v. Douglas.

Man blowing conch
Sean Arce calls in the four directions in a Mesoamerican ceremony that uses a conch shell.
Man pointing at painting
Sean Arce talks about the importance of Chicano Studies.

Arce shared some demographic information about educational attainment rates broken down by race, and explained how Ethnic Studies programs can help to increase educational attainment rates by allowing students of color to see their experiences reflected in the curriculum.

On Wednesday night in the BC Forum, the Jess Nieto Memorial Conference screened the PBS documentary “The Rise of the Brown Buffalo,” about Chicano lawyer and activist Oscar Zeta Acosta.

“The Rise of the Brown Buffalo” was directed by veteran PBS filmmaker Philip Rodriguez, using actors to portray Acosta and the major figures in his life. The film juxtaposes talking head testimonials from the actors with actual photos and footage of Acosta. In the film, Acosta is portrayed by Bakersfield native Jesse Celedon.

Two men with fingers on chins
A screenshot from the PBS documentary “The Life of the Brown Buffalo” screened in the BC Forum.

Acosta was an influential part of the Chicano movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s as a bold and boisterous lawyer representing activists and Chicano militants in Los Angeles during a time of rioting and intense racial strife. He was known for his wild and unorthodox methods of practicing law, and he cross-examined 100 judges, an unprecedented act that demonstrated how the jury selection process for his cases was biased against Chicanos. He also ran for Sheriff of Los Angeles County in 1970.

Acosta’s books didn’t do well commercially despite critical acclaim, and in 1974, he hand-wrote a last will and testament and disappeared in the deserts of Mexico. He was never seen again and is presumed dead.

Two men standing at Jess Nieto Conference
Director Philip Rodriguez and local actor Jesse Celedon speak in the Forum.

The last day of the conference focused on student presentations. Current members of BC’s MEChA gave a current update on everything they’ve done this year and testimonials about how the club helped them connect with their Chicano heritage. Graduate students Randy Villegas from UC Santa Cruz and Francisco Beltran from UC Santa Barbara gave presentations of their research. BC students Jose Bello and Tania Bernal moderated a panel on immigration, and Levan Student Award recipients gave presentations as well. The conference ended with a special baile by Project Conexiones students.

I’d like to thank Octavio Barajas for organizing all of the programming, as well as all of the students, staff and panelists who came out to support such an amazing, legendary man.

Third Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast

On Wednesday, April 24, BC attended the 3rd Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast at Hodel’s Country Dining.  The Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions who quietly work behind the scenes are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication.

nora dominguez, kimberly white-smith, sonya, lynette, dolores huerta, nan, norma

This year’s honoree and recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Dolores Huerta, who was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico, but spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California.  Dolores found her calling while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO), when she founded the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA).  In 1955, she met CSO Executive Director Cesar E. Chavez.  The two shared a common vision of organizing farm workers, which was an idea that did not necessarily follow the CSO’s mission.

Josefina Flores

In 1962, Cesar and Dolores launched the National Farm Workers Association, where Dolores’s skills were vital to the growth of this organization.  In addition, she was instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, as well as working as a lobbyist to improve workers’ legislative representation.  Later, she fought to elect more Latinos and women to political office.

Dolores has received many honors and accolades over the years, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.  As of 2015, she was a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Danny Morrison did an amazing job as host.

The breakfast was hosted by Danny Morrison, who is a social and community activist, motivational speaker, and multimedia personality and host of The Danny Morrison Radio Show with the NEW 103.9 The Beat in Bakersfield and the NEW Forge 92.5 in Fresno.  Born and raised in Bakersfield, Danny spends his time mentoring children, performing motivational speeches, and giving back to the community.

nan and sonya
bc group

It was wonderful to see several members of our BC leadership come out to celebrate Huerta’s accomplishments, including Abel Guzman, Brenda Valdez, Corny Rodriguez, Olivia Garcia, Victor Diaz, and Lisa Robles.  We are BC!  Si, se puede!

Project Conexiones Students Participate in Leadership Conference

Participants attended various workshop topics ranging from career development, political consciousness, social and community activism, supporting undocumented students, systems of higher education, cultural resiliency, unity among students, and learned from many powerful keynote speakers, authors, and influential community organizers.

Students began their morning at MacArthur Park with an appreciation of their indigenous cultural roots as they were greeted by a traditional Aztec danza.

After the final day of the conference, Conexiones students enjoyed a relaxing and fun day at Malibu Beach.

Special thanks to the EOPS and CalSOAP staff who contributed greatly to the planning process. Big shout out to Octavio Barajas (History), Francisco Llamas (History), and Marcela Gamino (EOPS) for serving as advocates and mentors to the Conexiones students.

Business Pathway Career Expo

On Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its Business Pathway Career Expo in front of the library for students to interact with professionals regarding the careers they would like to pursue.

business pathway booth
business pathway booth
business pathway booths overview
business pathway booth

Students talked to people in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, and Law Enforcement.  These days, employers are looking for more than an education. They are looking for skilled workers with job experience, so the Business Pathway Career Expo gave students a chance to learn about job prospects and internships before they finish college so they can get a head start on their career. The expo also allowed students to interact with several local business owners and industry partners.

business pathway booth
business pathway booth

Cool t-shirt. Thank you.

Pre-Law Student Celebration

The Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program is pleased to report that we have 11 students who completed the Pre-Law program this year. We have students transferring to CSU Bakersfield, CSU East Bay, UC Davis, and Washington State. Best of luck to our Pre-Law graduates!

Pre law students
Graduates present at the celebration (left to right): Leodegario Aguilar, Stephiny Winslow, Linda Eaves, Karla Alvarez, Kiley Thompson, David Arredondo, Robert Bankowski, and Denise Ruiz.
Pre law students
David Arredondo (with guest) and Advisory Council Member Yinka Glover.
Pre law students
David Arredondo, Leslie Cunningham (Director of Cal Law Inc.), Linda Eaves, Karla Alvarez, Robert Bankowski, Pearl Urena, and Leodegario Aguilar.

EOP&S Student Celebration

Last Tuesday, April 23, the EOP&S Student Celebration took place at Hodel’s Country Dining. Check out these great photos!

EOP&S graduates
EOP&S graduates
EOP&S graduates
EOP&S medals

Community Voices: Tom Burke

Check out this piece by Chancellor Tom Burke in The Bakersfield Californian about celebrating community colleges.  Like the chancellor, I’m very proud of the work we have done to serve our community college students.

community voices by tom burke

Read Tom’s entire article on www.bakersfield.com.

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

Last month, Jack Hernandez wrote a touching piece in The Bakersfield Californian on the topic of suicide.  His words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes as he wrote about his personal experience dealing with suicide.  As he states in the first paragraph, suicide is a “terrifying, endlessly sad word.”

community voices by jack hernandez

Read Jack’s entire article on www.bakersfield.com.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

William Harland Boyd Gets Plaque

This weekend, a plaque will be dedicated on campus in memory of Dr. William Harland Boyd, who was a history professor and department chair at Bakersfield College.

william harland boyd plaque
william harland boyd plaque

In addition to his BC duties, Dr. Boyd was a co-founder and editor of the local historical society in Kern County, being affiliated with this group for more than fifty years.  This wonderful plaque will be displayed inside our Humanities area, so be sure to stop by and take a look! We are BC proud!

Geology Club Rocks the Sequoias

Francis Benavente, who recently joined the Bakersfield College Geology Club, sent over these great photos of a wonderful field trip they took to see rocks in Sequoia National Park.  Under the direction of geology professor Chris Benker, they hiked up the river to Brush Creek, and got a lot of really awesome pictures.  I’d like to give a special thanks to Chris for providing these amazing opportunities for our students!

BC geology club
BC geology club

View more photos of the Geology Club’s visit to Sequoia National Park.

BC Drumline Beats the Competition at WGI World Championship

Last week, I wrote about our amazing BC Drumline winning the gold medal at the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio.  Director of Marching Arts Ensembles Tim Heasley and Drumline Media Manager Jimmie Taliaferro sent over these videos of the students warming up for the competition.  The actual performance couldn’t be recorded because of copyright reasons, but as Tim puts it, “You had to be there!”  Congrats, again!

Math and Science Retirement Luau

Retirees from the Math and Science Departments were celebrated with a retirement luau on Wednesday, April 24, and I was happy to participate in the festivities.  Patrick Fulks from the Biology Department is also retiring this semester, but was unavailable for the picture.

Group of people at makeshift luau
Left to right: Regina Hukill, Math Department; myself; Richard Darke, Physical Science Department; and Janet Fulks, Biology Department
Group of people at makeshift luau
Left to right: Richard Darke, Physical Science Department; Regina Hukill, Math Department; Janet Fulks, Biology Department; and Bernard Scanlon, Math Department

Thank you to Stephen Waller and Janet Thomas and the Office of Instruction Staff, as well as fellow faculty members of the math, biology, and physical science departments, for putting on the luau party.  Aloha!

Celebrating Earth Day with ‘Eating Animals’

Last Monday night in the Levan Center, Professor Beth Rodacker and Professor Emily Wilson hosted a viewing and discussion of the film Eating Animals to celebrate Earth Day 2019.

eating animals movie poster

The film, which was released in 2017, has received fine reviews and takes a close-up look at factory farming.  Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, and directed by Christopher Quinn, Eating Animals takes an eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming.

Spotlighting farmers who adopt more humane practices, Eating Animals offers attainable, commonsense solutions to a growing crisis.

Thanks to Beth and Emily for giving our students a chance to view this great film.

View the ‘Eating Animals’ trailer here!K

Spotlight: Office of Institutional Effectiveness

At Bakersfield College, we take pride in our high-touch, high-tech approach to working with our students, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has been instrumental in the development and evolution of that approach since its inception in 2016.

office of institutional effectiveness staff
karen, david, dan hall

Institutional Effectiveness conducts research, collects data, and provides reports on everything from accreditation, program review, and enrollment strategies to data coaching, grant funding, and student learning outcomes. This data is used by executive leadership and program managers to inform decisions, track outcomes and effectiveness of initiatives, and direct the daily activities of staff.

This year, the office has launched the Institutional Review Board and developed a process for faculty and staff to request research projects. The Institutional Review Board helps college personnel attain higher education credentials, facilitates applications for federal grants, and maintains ethical standards of research projects at BC. So far, the office has received 385 research requests through the Institutional Review Board during the 2018-19 academic year, Hayward said.

karen and david
Karen Snow and David Buitron

After compiling the information for this year’s Scorecard, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has noticed an increasing proportion of younger students in the BC student body over the past five years due to the growth of the Dual Enrollment and Early College programs. The shift in curriculum via metamajors and the establishment of Completion Coaching communities has resulted in a significant increase of Hispanic/Latinx students receiving Associate Degrees for Transfer, as well as increases in the number of students attempting 15 or more units in their first term and completing transfer-level math and English in their first year. These are important momentum points in both the guided pathways model and new state funding formula for community colleges.

Institutional researchers have shared BC’s high-tech, high-touch strategies across the nation, including the state Chancellor’s Office, EMSI, the Center for Urban Education, and the RP Group conference this month. In May, researcher Amber Hroch will be presenting at ACCJC’s Partners in Excellence conference about program review.

office of institutional effectiveness staff

This year, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness developed Cognos reports that will help the EOP&S and Veterans’ Services departments streamline the work they do to support students.  They’ve also launched the first phase of a project that will create a centralized data warehouse for all of the information collected across Banner, Starfish, eLumen, and other programs utilized by BC faculty and staff.

I’d like to thank all of the brilliant minds in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness for providing concrete data analysis that continues to drive innovation at BC.

Fun Photos: BC Entrepreneurship Team

Manny Mourtzanos shared a fun photo of the team after the Entrepreneurship Workshop that was offered to BC students following the Business Pathway Career Expo on Wednesday. They enjoyed two very successful events–it’s a good time to be a Renegade!

Manny Mourtzanos, Heather Wight (Executive Assistant, Small Business Development Center), Goli Ameri (President and CEO, StartItUp), Prof. Rudy Menjivar (BC Entrepreneurship & Business Law Faculty), and JP Lake (Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group)
Left to right: Manny Mourtzanos, Heather Wight (Executive Assistant, Small Business Development Center), Goli Ameri (President and CEO, StartItUp), Professor Rudy Menjivar (BC Entrepreneurship & Business Law Faculty), and JP Lake (Managing Partner, Kern Venture Group)

Fun Photos: Power Luncheon

Check out these great photos from Wednesday’s Power Luncheon with Jean Fuller.

crowd listening at the Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller
people sitting at desks
Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller
Power luncheon with jean fuller

Fun Photos: College Budget Meeting

Our College Budget Meetings are always an exciting time, as you can see in these wonderful photos.

college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
college budget meeting
Members of the budget committee being asked to stand and be recognized.

Renegade Athletics

The annual Army All-Star football game at Rabobank is a huge community event that we had the opportunity to sponsor this year. Athletics Program Manager Darrell Ballard and student worker Daniel Kraskey manned a table representing the college before the game and Associate AD Keith Ford presented the Offensive Player of the Game Award at the conclusion of the game. Over twenty of this year’s players are coming to BC this fall to play football for Coach Chudy. We look forward to seeing them on campus!

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments from BC Baseball and Softball, who are both Western State Conference Champions!

Segment with BC Baseball Coach Tim Painton

Segment with BC Baseball’s Kamron Willman and Alejandro Murillo

Segment with BC Assistant Softball Coach Aryka Chavez

Segment with BC Softball’s Natilee Parrish and Ashley Hernandez

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/14-4/20) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Daran Towns, Women’s Swimming

Was named WSC Co-Female Swimmer of the Year, winning all three of her individual races and breaking school records in all three. (500 Free, 200 Free, 100 Free) She was also on the winning 800 Free Relay along with 3 other top 4 relays.

Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track and Field

Placed first in the discus with a throw of 46.63m at the WSC Championships for back-to-back conference championships in that event.

Renegade Volleyball is Tearing it up on the Sand

lady gades beach volleyball
lady gades beach volleyball

The Renegade Women’s Beach Volleyball team hosted both Santa Barbara City College and Glendale College at the CSUB Beach Volleyball courts on Friday and came away with two dominant victories, 5-0 over SBCCC and 5-0 over GC. KCCD General Counsel Chris Hine was at the match to witness the dominating play by our student athletes. View a full album of the matches.

Women’s Soccer Student Athletes Moving On

Renegade Women’s Soccer student athletes Reagan King and Drew Hallum will be continuing their academic and athletic careers at the Division I level this coming season. King has signed with the University of Louisiana Monroe and Hallum, who originally committed to Emerson College, has signed with Appalachian State University. Congrats and good luck!

Jacob Whitby Grabs Back-to-Back WSC Discus Championships

Congrats to Renegade Student Athlete Jacob Whitby who won the Western State Conference Discuss Title that last weekend with a throw of 46.63m. This is now Jacob’s second title in as many years. Congrats, Jacob and good luck the rest of the season!

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • Instagram – @gogadesgo
Sonya Christian

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring: The Rebirth of Life

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, June 29, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Happy Easter!

This weekend, millions of people are celebrating Easter, which symbolizes the end of the fallow winter and the rebirth of life that comes with spring.

The traditional christian celebration of Easter observes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament, but people have been celebrating the spring equinox for thousands of years. Most of the non-christian iconography of Easter, including the use of eggs and rabbits, goes back to an equinox celebration named after the Germanic goddess of spring.

Easter in Germany

In the US, Easter celebrations include an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn, a tradition that has been going on for 141 years.

Children in Finland and Sweden celebrate Easter by dressing up as witches and asking for chocolate door-to-door, which is very similar to Halloween. Devout Catholics in the Pampanga region of the Philippines volunteer to be nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday, and Germans light giant bonfires at sunset on Holy Saturday. You can read more about Easter traditions around the world in an article published by the UK Evening Standard.

When I was growing up, Easter, like Christmas, was full of family fun, church activities, and food. This year, Easter will be with with my daughter, cooking family dishes and our traditional catholic Easter mass. I am sure we will squeeze in time to take Bessie to the dog park and generally take long walks along the beach.

However you choose to celebrate Easter, my wish for you is that it’s a beautiful, happy day for you and your family.

BC Drumline Wins Gold at WGI Competition

For the first time in the BC Drumline’s history, they are world champions!!  Our amazing Renegades competed in the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio last weekend, where they beat out 15 other times to win the Gold medal.  There are not enough words to convey how proud we are of our Drumline students and their director Tim Heasley.

Check out this piece that KGET did on our World Champions. Also the piece by Ema Sasic in The Bakersfield Californian. Congratulations! We are BC!

BC Drumline: World Champions!!
Another great shot of our World Champs.
Go Renegades, Go!
BC student holding award trophy
WGI Award Trophy
BC Drumline performing.
Performing at the WGI Competition
BC drumline performing

American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention

Last week I presented at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention on Bakersfield College’s guided pathways implementation.  BC originally began working with AACC in 2015 as one of 30 colleges nationally participating in the AACC Pathways Project.  The discussion focused on lessons about leadership for transformational change, the commitment to achieve equity in student outcomes, and overcoming challenges in scaling guided pathways work.

Panelists at the American Association of Community Colleges 2019 National Convention
Rob Johnstone. Alex Johnson, Sonya Christian, Davis Jenkins

My co-presenters included:

  • David Jenkins, Senior Research Scholar at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University (and co-author of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges which BC read in book panels in fall 2015)
  • Rob Johnstone, Founding President & CEO of the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement
  • Kay McClenney, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO, AACC
  • Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College

I thank the American Association of Community Colleges for supporting guided pathways and scaling it across the nation.

Sonya Christian, Kay McClenney, & Davis Jenkins

KCCD Trustee Agbalog on Terry Maxwell’s KNZR 1560AM Radio Show

On Tuesday, KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog was a guest on Terry Maxwells radio show on AM 1560. Check out the interview where Trustee Agbalog speaks about education in Kern County and BC’s Early College partnerships.

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Last week, the Public Safety Training department unveiled its new SimRig! The SimRig is built to precisely mimic a real ambulance. It gives the students a firsthand look and experience of being in a unit while working on patients. The back door and bumper are built to the actual specifications of road-ready ambulances to allow students to efficiently practice loading and unloading stretchers, and perform life-saving procedures in a limited space.

Sim Rig unveiling

We are very thankful to those who made this EMT and Paramedic simulation training possible: Dean Carla Gard, Director Tony Cordova, PSTP Dean Rich McCrow, PSTP Director Tommy Tunson, Chancellor Tom Burke, Associate Chancellor Cindy Collier, PSTP Dept. Assistant Karen Mattox and Weill Facilities and Maintenance Manager Don Birdwell.

SimRig Ribbon Cutting at KCCD

Kaiser Permanente Awards $30K Grant to BC

Kaiser Permanente awarded $30,000 to Bakersfield College as a part of its mission to provide high quality affordable healthcare and improve the lives of our members and our communities.  Kaiser Permanente provides grants local organizations to partner with them in helping meet the health needs of the most vulnerable citizens in Kern County. This year Kaiser Permanente is providing $260,000 in grants to ten local organizations.

BC’s Dr. Sarah Baron, Dr. Marvin Campos, Area Medical Director for Kaiser Permanente, Sherry Mounts, Chief Administrative Officer for Kaiser Permanente, David Womack, Senior Vice President & Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente presenting the $30k grant.
Presentation of $30k grant check

Speaking of Bakersfield College and health partnerships in the community, BC and the Delano Reproductive Health Task Force will pilot and bring to scale a peer health education (PHE) program on reproductive and sexual health education. We’d like to thank the Kern County Superintendent of Schools who conducted the initial 12 hour training!  

Gadfly Cafe

The final Gadfly Café of the semester on Secularism, Nihilism, and the Need to Believe took place on Wednesday, April 10. Thank you to Reggie Williams for offering these opportunities for our students to learn, be inspired, engage in conversation, and walk away with a newfound outlook on life.

Nick Strobel’s COMMUNITY VOICES: A way to transform our relationships and world

Check out this must read by our very own Nick Strobel in The Bakersfield Californian. Make sure to it out “A way to transform our relationships and world.”

Nick Strobel

MESA Conference

On April 6, the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program and Bakersfield College hosted an annual conference on the Panorama Campus that was geared to educate the community about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), and Pre-Med education.  The conference was designed to allow participants to network with professionals in STEM and Pre-Med and explore careers.

STEM and Pre-Med Conference flyer
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Participants engaged in workshops, a resource fair, and heard from keynote speakers, college advisors, financial aid counselors, industry leaders, and student organizations.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

The goals of the conference included a special focus in STEM and Pre-Med, improve community and industry partnerships, and further developing local talent of minorities and within underrepresented communities.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference
Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

Special thanks to our conference sponsors for helping to make this event happen, including California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Infrastructure Engineering Corporation, Grimmway Farms, UCLA Undergraduate Admission, University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Students at the MESA STEM & Pre-Med Guided Pathways Conference

New World of Work Training

Bakersfield College Career Education Department recently hosted the New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training where we had 40 different educators from our Central Region participate in a two-day instructor training. At the end of the training, participants earned non-credit certificates of completion for instruction in 21st Century skills that they can implement into their classrooms.

Bakersfield College Career Education Department at New World of Work (NWoW) 21st Century Skills Training

GAF Glass Mat Plant Ribbon Cutting in Shafter

GAF Glass Mat Plant in Shafter reopened its operations with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday April 17th. The GAF plant has gone through a multi-million dollar facility upgrade to better serve growing demand. Those in attendance at the ceremony were Shafter’s Mayor Gilbert Alvarado and Representatives from the office of TJ Cox and Rudy Salas. This restart of operations at the plant means more jobs for our community and more future opportunities for our students from various programs. GAF has been a great partner to our INDA program by offering facility tours, contributing to the INDA senior project and hiring interns from our Baccalaureate students.

GAF Glass Mat Plant ribbon cutting ceremony and tour.

Spotlight: Outreach/Welcome Department

With the expansion of Dual Enrollment and Early College opportunities at BC, the work of our Outreach and School Relations team has become more important than ever.  They’ve risen to the occasion in the 2018-19 academic year, spreading the word about our innovative curriculum and academic support while clarifying the path for thousands of students.

Steve Watkin & Kylie Swanson at the McFarland Early College Launch.

The Outreach and School Relations Department at BC works closely with the local high schools to help aspiring students with enrollment and familiarizing themselves with our campuses. They’ve successfully assisted 3,368 high school seniors with the matriculation process this academic year, up 31 percent from last year. The team coordinated Registration Rocks events at 28 high schools on the second day of priority registration, and with the help of 100 BC employees and student workers, 2,386 students were registered for classes, a 250% increase from the Registration Rocks events held in the Fall 2017 semester.

Savannah Andrews and Ashlea Ward in the Welcome Center

Outreach hosts a High School Counselor Conference every year to inform the high schools about new initiatives and onboarding processes at BC.

Members of the BC Outreach team with Sonya Christian.
BC’s Outreach Team

Thank you to everyone in Outreach for working so hard to make the dream of college a reality for thousands of people in Kern County.  

Ashlea Ward & Steve Watkin leading some training.

National Student Employee Appreciation Week

This year’s Spring Break happened to fall on National Student Employee Appreciation Week, so the Student Employment Office recognized our student workers last week before the break.

Bakersfield College currently employs 495 students on campus. Students gain valuable work experience to put on their resume, build key relationships with their supervisors who can provide a reference or letter of recommendation. At the heart of the program is strengthening students’ work ethic and interpersonal skills that employers need.

National Student Appreciation Week!
Stephanie Baltazar

Thank you to Stephanie Baltazar and her team at Student Employment for all of their hard work in helping to prepare our students for their careers.

Measure J Updates

We currently have 14 (yes, 14!!) Measure J projects underway.  The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center is under construction, and will be completed in early December 2019.  

Construction at the Veterans Resource Center
More construction at the Veterans Resource Center

Demolition has concluded for the Campus Center, with construction scheduled to begin in May.

Campus Center construction
More Campus Center construction shots.

Also this week, some of the cement work along the pool was replaced to be ADA compliant.

Cement work near pool
Additional shot of cement work

The Memorial Stadium construction has begun as well, with the first phase beginning in early April.   Also, check out this piece that 23ABC did on the Memorial Stadium renovations!

Aerial footage of the Memorial Stadium construction

We cannot wait to share these completed projects with our students and community! You can get updates at Measure J project schedule.

Thank you Bakersfield community for voting Yes on J!

Entree to Employment

The Career Education Department collaborated with the BC Education Department for an Entrée to Employment grand dinner event. The event brought together education experts with BC students who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching  elementary, secondary, or college education in the fields of Math, Science, Special Education, Automation, Agriculture, Welding, and Engineering.

BC Culinary Arts student hard at work
BC Culinary Arts student baking

BC future teachers networked with education experts over a delicious meal served by the BC  Culinary Arts students in the Renegade Room. Twenty-three BC students participated along with representatives from BC, Kern K-12 districts, and local institutions including BCSD, KHSD, KCSOS, and the University of La Verne.

BC Culinary Arts student baking
Fruit and vegetable plate
Chocolate cake
Caprese skewers
Soup prepared by BC Culinary Arts students

A special thanks to the event team: Stephanie Baltazar, Jessica McGrath, Carlos Medina, Domenica Trinidad, Suzanne Tangeman , Christian Flores (and student Culinary Arts team), Rosa Perez, Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, our table facilitators, and our field experts!

BC’s Career and Technical Education Department
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event
Guests at the dinner table for the Entree to Employment event

Kimberly Bligh, Faculty Chair over the emerging Education Department received this email from Vicky Spanos, director of the Kern High Teacher Residency Program after the event:

Vicki Spanos in the middle

Hi Kimberly –

Thank you so much for inviting me to the wonderful event you put on for future teachers. I loved being a part of it and enjoyed every minute. The meal was delicious, and the conversation at our table was interesting and uplifting. Debbie Anderson did an excellent job facilitating our discussions.

The young man who spoke at the end, who had returned to teach the culinary students (Christian) was a student of mine. I did not recognize him right away because of the beard, but he recognized me and spoke on the way out. Thrilling to bump into a former student who is doing well, isn’t it? It was just icing on an already pretty terrific cake!!


Make sure to check out the Facebook album to see all of the great photos!

Fun Photos: Spring Pop Up Art Show

We had 104 art pieces for the Spring Pop Up Art Show outside of Fine Arts building last week!  Art faculty member Diego Gutierrez sent over some photos, where he said his students exhibited their Figure Drawing work from this semester.  Great job everyone!

Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show
Art on display at the BC Spring Pop Up Art Show

Fun Photos: Ellucian Impact Award

BC’s Director of Admissions & Records Michelle Pena sent some photos from the Ellucian Live 2019 conference in New Orleans last week.  Bakersfield College was named a finalist for the 2019 Ellucian Impact Award, where we received a $5,000 institution grant! Thanks for representing us, Michelle!

Board showing BC as a finalist for the Ellucian Impact Award
Michelle Pena, Director of Enrollment Services and Becky Weaver, Weaver and Fox Consulting presenting Plan, Nudge, and Schedule- The Integrated Approach to Student Success
Michelle and Becky’s presentation

Fun Photos: Jackie Robinson’s 100th Birthday Celebration

Manny Mourtzanos and his son celebrated the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, a baseball legend and agent of social change, at Dodgers Stadium for what would’ve been his 100th birthday. All players wore number (#42) in Robinson’s honor. While there, Manny ran into our very own Robby Martinez!  Looks like it was a great time!

Manny Mourtzanos, his son Andrew, and Robby Martinez at the Dodger game.

Fun Photos: What do professors do on Spring break?

What do professors do on Spring break? They do yard work and meet at Greenway to dump limbs!  Deb said that Helen was wearing a BC shirt or she might not have noticed her!

Deb Rosenthal and Helen Acosta at Greenway

Fun Photos: Executive Office Birthday Celebrations

The BC Executive Office held a potluck this past Wednesday to celebrate March and April birthdays. We celebrated the birthdays of Tarina Perry and Catherine Rangel with some delicious food!

Happy Birthday Renegades!

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/7-4/13) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week

Kayleen Sanchez, Women’s Tennis – Kayleen played her toughest conference match of the year, going 3 sets against teammate Paige Darstein to win the WSC singles championship 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. That same day, she partnered with Darstein to win the WSC doubles championship with a commanding 6-0, 6-1 victory. Kayleen also collected All-Conference First Team honors in singles, All-Conference Second Team honors in doubles, and was named the WSC Player Of The Year.

Tyson Hays, Men’s Golf – Tyson shot even par (72) at the CCCAA Men’s Golf SoCal Preview at Los Serrano’s Country Club to lead the Renegade’s to their lowest team score of the season.

Softball Clinches Back-to-Back WSC North Championships

Coach Casey Goodman and her 2019 softball squad are now back-to back Western State Conference (WSC) North Division Champions after this week’s 15-1 victory over LA Pierce! They are undefeated at 14-0 and pitcher Kylee Fahy is on track to finish leading the state in strikeouts for a second year in a row. Congrats to Coach Goodman and good luck in the upcoming state playoffs. We would love to see them advance to the state finals as Bakersfield College is the host site for the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) state softball finals.

BC Softball 2019 Western State Conference Champions

Women’s Tennis Dominates the WSC Championships

BC Women’s Tennis student athletes Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein faced off against each other in the 2019 WSC Women’s Tennis singles championship. Sanchez came away victorious after defeating Darstein in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to take the women’s singles title.

They both then teamed up as doubles partners to smooth through their semi final match against Chacon/Ghazaryan from Glendale College, 6-3, 6-2. In the finals they cruised to a dominating victory over Stanisavljevic/Sakato from College of the Canyons, 6-2, 6-0.

Kayleen Sanchez and Paige Darstein promo photo

The team also cleaned up in WSC Conference awards as follows:

  • All-Conference First Team
    • #1 Singles – Kayleen Sanchez
    • #2 Singles – Paige Darstein
  • All-Conference Second Team
    • #4 Singles – Katelyn Wernhart
    • #5 Singles – Zoe Butter
    • #6 Singles – Ashlyne Aguilar
    • #1 Doubles – Sanchez/Darstein
    • #2 Doubles – Strange/Zavala

Conference Player of the Year: Kayleen Sanchez

The team will next compete at the CCCAA State Championships at The Ojai Tournament that will take place April 25-28. Good luck ladies!

Kayleen Sanchez promo photo

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Athletics social media handles

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Spring Into Action!

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 13, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

We live in exciting times….

On Wednesday, April 10, we were able to see something that has never been captured before: an actual photograph of a black hole.  For years, scientists could only imagine what an actual black hole looked like, and now that has been turned into a reality.

Our own Nick Strobel posted about the black hole on his Facebook page. Take a look!

Black Hole Facebook screenshot

The image released to the world on Wednesday shows an orange and red ring around the dark shadow of a black hole, the edge separating the light that escaped and reached the Earth from 55 million light-years away, from the light that could not escape the intense gravity of the black hole.

Having the ability to see black holes opens up new areas of research into the physics our our universe. We truly live in exciting times!

KCCD Board of Trustees Meeting

On Thursday, BC welcomed the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees to the Panorama campus for their annual April board meeting at BC.

Our Maintenance and Operations staff put up a beautiful tent in the CSS Lawn for the Trustees and BC leadership to enjoy lunch before the board meeting, and Food Services prepared a delicious meal of enchiladas and chile verde. During lunch, Todd Coston and Monika Scott took a moment to celebrate all of our classified staff members who work hard behind the scenes to keep our campus beautiful and ensure that our students have a wonderful educational experience.

People sitting at round table

Traditionally, our lunches before the April board meetings have highlighted instructional departments such as Industrial Automation or Culinary Arts, but this year, we thought it would nice to show our appreciation for some of BC’s unsung heroes among our classified staff. Financial Aid Technician Rebecca Bumpous took the podium to described the ways that she has helped her department with funding our students’ dreams, awarding $44 million in Title IV funding and $3 million in state funding for the 2018-19 academic year.

Woman speaking
Rebecca Bumpous, Financial Aid Technician
Man speaking
Carlos Barbaran, Custodian I

Carlos Barbaran proudly spoke of his 24 years of service as a custodian in Maintenance and Operations, keeping 72,000 square feet of instructional facilities clean for our students every day.

Woman speaking
Shauna Turner, Department Assistant III

Shauna Turner gets to pursue her passion for providing opportunities for disadvantaged and first-generation students as a Department Assistant for Student Success and Equity, and Systems Support Specialist Israel Mendoza is honored to service 3,000 electronics devices across Panorama and Delano campuses and BC SouthWest to ensure that our students have the tools they need to finish their assignments.

Man speaking
Israel Mendoza, Systems Support Specialist I
Woman speaking
Mirian Fuentes, Food Service Worker III

Watch the video below to see all the speeches.

At the end of the classified staff testimonials, Todd Coston shared a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that epitomizes our BC staff’s dedication to our students.

“The purpose of life… is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

After lunch, the Trustees moved over to the Levan Center for the Board meeting. The Board presented awards to retiring BC employees and emeritus faculty. Chancellor Tom Burke took a moment to explain the history of the word emeritus, which started as a Latin title bestowed to ancient Roman soldiers after their tour of service but evolved to refer to college professors who are distinguished in their dedication to students and academia. The Board of Trustees gave emeritus recognition to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rafael Espericueta, Andrea Garrison, Catherine Freeman, Susan McQuerrey, Ann Wiederecht, Kate Pluta, Kathleen Rossellini, Januet Lewis, Joyce Kirst, Odella Johnson, Rachel Vickrey, Becki Whitson, Scott Wayland and Daniel Johnson.

Here are the individuals who received emeritus status.

Here are the seven of the 18 retiring BC faculty and staff. It’s always sad to see such talented people leave BC, but they will always remain a part of the Renegade family. Our retirees have served a total of 456 years of service to BC and touched the lives of an estimated 91,000 students.

Penny Loos and Theresa Rodriguez were an integral part of Food Services as a Department Assistants, navigating the department through decades of changes.

Fred Smith has been an athletic trainer for Renegade student athletes since 1984, and an estimated 10,000 students’ lives were impacted by his support for about 4,000 athletic events.

Sally Sterns earned two degrees from BC and decided to stick around as a Horticulture Lab Tech, and she has directly contributed to the growth of Garden Fest, one of the largest horticulture events in Kern County, an event that brings 7,000 people to our campus every year.

Rebecca Mooney has proudly shared her passion for literature and writing with students as a professor in the English department, and Nancy Perkins was selected to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as Director of Radiologic Technology for 39 years. Finally, math professor Bernard Scanlon will be remembered by generations of students for his great, booming voice and his cutting-edge work developing interactive lecture materials for students since the mid-90s.

I would like to thank Maintenance and Information Technology for their support of this year’s Board of Trustees meeting, as well as Todd Coston and Monika Scott for taking the time to celebrate our classified staff during lunch. And a big thank you to everyone from the Executive Office who helped plan and coordinate the meeting.

I hope you enjoy these photos from Manny De Los Santos and Dylan Wang.

Kern County Board of Supervisors

Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Teresa Hitchcock, Brian Bell, JP Lake, Aaron Resendez, Liz Rozell, and Jean Fuller
L-R: Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Teresa Hitchcock, Brian Bell, JP Lake, Aaron Resendez, Liz Rozell, and Jean Fuller

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, academic partners from Bakersfield College and McFarland Unified School District presented their unique Early College collaborative program to the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Jean Fuller and Liz Rozell, representing Bakersfield College, presented along with Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District, and Brian Bell, Principal of McFarland High School.

Brian Bell, Aaron Resendez, Jean Fuller, Liz Rozell
Jean Fuller presents to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
JP Lake speaking at podium
J.P. Lake speaks to the Board in support of Early College.

J.P. Lake, on behalf of the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, also spoke to the Board of Supervisors supporting Early College as an effective educational program. Thanks to Teresa Hitchcock, County Administrative Office on Economic Development, and Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Trustee and Executive Director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, for coordinating this opportunity.

Accreditation Certificate Received

This week, BC received an important document in the mail: our most recent accreditation certificate! This document is only made possible by the hard work, dedication, and commitment of so many hands, hearts, and minds that make up BC’s faculty, staff, and administration. Thank you to each and every one of you who contributed to the accreditation process and site visit.

Accreditation Certificate

Check out my past blog entries which highlight all the work which went into accreditation including BC: A place where dreams are made and fulfilled.

Lunch with Lance Izumi

Lance Izumi holding up his book
Lance Izumi holding up his new book, ‘Choosing Diversity.’

Lance Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies and Senior Director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the former chair of the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges.  Izumi is an accomplished author, having published multiple books and produced several films on education. In his latest book, Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Needs of Parents and Children, Izumi highlights Grimmway Academy Shafter as a model that meets the needs of Rural America.

Lance Izumi, Jean Fuller, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog
Lance Izumi, Jean Fuller, myself, and Romeo Agbalog are all smiles.

On Friday, April 5, Izumi joined local educational and political leaders to discuss the findings from his new book and to lead a panel of practitioners in a discussion of charter schools and the educational landscape in California.  Panelists included: Senator Emeritus Jean Fuller, Shafter Education Partnership Director David Franz, Chief academic Officer of Grimmway Schools Casey Yeazel, and the Kern County Economic and Workforce Developmentís Teresa Hitchcock.

Izumi also showed an amazing video at the event.  Watch the video on YouTube.

Thank you to Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government and Grimm Family Education Foundation for organizing this event.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Eric Schlosser

On Thursday, April 4, Rolling Stone journalist and New York Times bestselling author Eric Schlosser gave a series of presentations at BC about the development of “Fast Food Nation” and his other books.

Eric Schlosser
Eric Schlosser speaks about ‘Fast Food Nation’ and his other works.

Schlosser was the person most recently featured in BC’s Distinguished Speakers series for the 2018-19 academic year, which has brought other notable speakers such as Temple Grandin, Clementine Wamariya, and Christina Sommers to campus.

Schlosser started his journalistic career writing a series of articles about the labor abuses of those working in California strawberry fields, which lead to writing about fast food for Rolling Stone. “Fast Food Nation” describes the history of the fast food industry, which started in Southern California in the 1950s when the McDonald brothers developed a divided system of restaurant labor based on industrial assembly line practices. The book goes on to describe the ways agriculture and meat packing industries, as well as American eating habits, have been transformed since the first McDonald’s opened up in 1955.

“Fast Food Nation” is required reading in many high school and college classes, including English B1A. Schlosser also wrote about nuclear weapons in the book “Command and Control” and is working on a book about the prison system.

Eric Schlosser speaking on stage
The audience was entranced during Schlosser’s presentation.
Reggie Williams
Reggie Williams addressing the group

Thank you to the Office of Student Life, the Levan Center and everyone who helped bring Eric Schlosser to campus.

BC L.E.T.S. Teach Conference a B.I.G. Success!

Students who attended the L.E.T.S. Teach Conference on March 29 at the BC Panorama campus participated in interactive workshops held by field experts about what being a teacher/educator entails.

Group of four women smiling

According to edsource.org: “A 2016 survey of 211 (California) school districts by the Learning Policy Institute revealed that nearly three-quarters could not find enough qualified teachers to fill their classrooms. Instead, schools hired thousands of underqualified teachers. In 2016-17, more than 12,000 provisional intern permits, limited assignment teaching permits, waivers and intern credentials were issued in California. About half of these went to math, science and special education teachers: subject areas with the most acute shortages, according to the research.”

Collage of conference swag

There were a total of 5 workshops provided to participants throughout the morning, then participants gathered for networking lunch catered by our BC Food Services department. Our main goal for this conference was to reach those students who are thinking of pursuing teaching in the field of STEM or CTE.  High school students were also invited to attend this event.

Collage of conference attendees

The workshop titles were as follows:

  • Joe Saldivar, Biology Professor – “Basic Genetics and Celebrity Children”
  • Michael Frendenberg, Mathematics Professor – “Five Faces of Teaching Math”
  • La’Stevia Dixon & Fay Sandoval, Edison School District – “Teaching From the Heart”
  • Bettye Stachowiak, University of LaVerne – “Mindfulness”
  • Vendor Recourse Fair 15+ Universities and employers
Man with hipster beard and woman holding flowers

This was the fourth BC conference sponsored by the Education Futures grant and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and hosted by Leaders and Educators for Tomorrow’s Students (L.E.T.S. Teach). Our goal is to continue offering these conferences in the future to raise awareness of the need for teachers and the value of being a part of this profession.

Two men posing for camera

In addition to this conference, L.E.T.S. Teach holds FREE monthly huddles for Bakersfield College students considering the field of Education. These are an opportunity to network with like-minded students, current professionals, and ask questions about the path to becoming a teacher (or principal, counselor, and more).

Collage of conference attendees

The last Spring 2019 huddle is on Thursday, April 25 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in CSS 135 (upstairs from counseling).  Evening tea & cookies will be provided. RSVP here! We would like to thank the L.E.T.S. Teach coordination team: Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Director; Christina Maldonado, Department Assistant; Isabel Castaneda, Education Advisor; Teresa McAllister, Education Faculty and Huddle Lead; and Jessica McGrath, Job Placement Specialist. We would also like to thank our volunteers, Education Department Peer Mentors, and student graphic designer Evelyn Torres.

Delano Career Expo

The Career Education department coordinated their first Spring Career Expo at the Delano Campus on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. With efforts from our Job Development Specialist, 28 vendors from various industries such as Agriculture, Law Enforcement, Health Services, Corrections, and Education, joined us to expose our students to different career pathway opportunities.

Bakersfield College tent and booth

Several students took advantage of the event between classes to network with vendors discussing open positions, internships, and career opportunities within their company. Many students commented on how excited they were to see the variety of vendors and the networking opportunities they received.

Two people at Delano Career Expo booth
Bolthouse Farms booth

Special thanks to Domenica Trinidad, Job Developer, the Career Education Department Staff, and Veronica Lucas, Counselor for the Delano Campus, for all of their support along the way to help make this a successful event.

Victor Diaz: Hall of Famer

Last Saturday night, Victor Diaz was inducted into Foothill High School Hall of Fame.  An excerpt from that night’s program describes Victor’s many accomplishments, both in life and on the football field:

Vic’s love of football began at Mt. Vernon Elementary School, when he quarterbacked the flag football team to a league championship, then through Jack Frost football in junior high school, and finally into high school, where he again secured the quarterback position on the JV team.

Victor Diaz and Corny Rodriguez
Victor Diaz and Corny Rodriguez celebrating Victor’s Hall of Fame induction.

In 1991, as a junior quarterback, he led the Trojans to victory over their long-time rivals, the BHS Drillers, eliminating them from advancing to the playoffs.  Instead, Foothill moved on to the league playoffs for the first time in 10 years. That same year in a playoff game against defending Valley Champs Clovis High, Vic threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns.  For his hard work and leadership, he received the MVP award, as well as being named Second-Team All Area Quarterback.

Man speaking at podium
Victor Diaz gives a rousing speech during his Hall of Fame induction.

In 1992, during his senior year, Vic led his team to another record-breaking season by defeating the perennial powerhouse West High Vikings, leading to a much-anticipated showdown with the BHS Drillers.  Moved to Bakersfield College, the BHS game drew huge city-wide attention, attracting 17,575 fans and setting a new state record for a high school football game. While the Trojans lost this closely-contested game, they would continue on to the playoffs, taking on Tulare Western, a game in which Vic completed 14 of 19 passes for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He ended his football career as a First-Team All Area quarterback.  Vic also lettered in varsity baseball during his freshman and sophomore years.  Throughout his high school career, Vic won numerous awards and recognitions, including Jockey Athlete of the Month Award, Channel 17, Football Extra, and Hometown Sports.  Now, after more than 25 years, Vic still holds the Foothill Trojan record as a quarterback with the most passing yards and touchdown passes, totaling 3,828 yards and 39 touchdowns with 18 wins.

Close up of Vic Diaz photo on poster
Here’s a cool photo of Victor Diaz during his playing days.

Entering Bakersfield College after graduation and trying out for the football team, he discovered that he would rather pursue an academic career.  Upon completing his B.A. and Masters in Educational Counseling, Vic returned to Bakersfield College as Athletic Academic Counselor, where he currently serves as Academic Senate Vice President and Counseling Department Chair.

Congratulations on all your success, Vic!  We are BC!

Remembering Terri Nuckols

Superintendent Terri Nuckols will always be remembered as a local champion of education. An article from The Delano Record shared more details about her legacy by saying the following:

Delano Joint Union High School District employees were notified by email from Superintendent Jason Garcia on March 29 of the death of Dr. Terri Nuckols.

Terri L Nuckols funeral program cover

“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart,” said Garcia, “that I must share the passing of Dr. Terri Nuckols. She was an educator for more than 35 years and served the Delano Joint Union High School District from 2006 until her retirement in October 2018.

Dr. Nuckols began her work in education as a substitute teacher in the Porterville Unified School District and was eventually hired as an English instructor at Monache High School.

In July 2006, she came to Delano as learning director at Cesar E. Chavez High School. In 2009, she was named principal at Delano High School and became director of the Delano Adult School in July 2011.

In November of 2015, she was named Delano Joint Union High School District superintendent. Under her leadership the district has continued to thrive and its schools have consistently ranked within the top schools in both Kern and Tulare counties.

There has been significant increase in college partner relationships as the district has overhauled its CTE pathway classes to better align with its college partners.

Nuckols’ vision and leadership helped to make the change while creating seamless transitions for students. She was instrumental in collaborating with Bakersfield College to begin the new Industrial Automation Pathway at Robert F. Kennedy High School.

In addition, Dr. Nuckols was a leader in moving the district’s dual enrollment program forward, providing students with the opportunity to earn valuable college credits while attending classes on their high school campuses.

Elaine Moreno Goes on Deployment

Elaine Moreno
Elaine Moreno is headed overseas and we wish her a safe journey and return!

A few weeks ago, I shared in my blog that Renegade Elaine Moreno is headed overseas to Baghdad. I am continually inspired and amazed by the stories of our active men and women in service and especially those who remain committed to their education while overseas. Here’s to wishing Elaine all the best, to keeping her and her unit safe, and beginning the countdown for her safe return.

Elaine Moreno waiting to board plane

Blessing of the Bikes

The R.E.D. Friday Motorcycle Group held their fifth annual Bakersfield Blessing of the Bikes event at St. Joseph’s Church this past weekend.  With more than 120 motorcycles at the event, they were able to donate $1,000 to the Bakersfield College Veterans’ Club, as well as $2,000 to a family who has a child fighting cancer.

Row of motorcycles

Their group consists of military veterans, law enforcement, and those who have a passion to ride. Their rides are designed to honor those who are in, and have been, in the military and serve our country.  They have motorcycle rides to escort new military recruits and honor our fallen heroes. I’m honored that R.E.D. gives back to our veterans by choosing Bakersfield College Veterans’ Club as one of their recipients.

People standing and clapping

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Trudi Blanco for working with the club to secure the $1,000 donation.

Alpha Phi Alpha

BC faculty and staff and Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) students were pleased to attend the festive Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Scholarship Gala.

Group of students at Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Scholarship Gala

Keynote speaker Tony Magee, author of Can’t Shove a Great Life into a Small Dream, was entertaining and insightful.  He shared three inspiring tips: 1. Find your purpose, 2. Cultivate your self worth, and 3. Boost your creative thinking. The Umoja students enjoyed his message and took notes. The tips on self worth that they found particularly helpful were compliment yourself, compliment others, and increase your gratitude. What a treat for them to be able to participate in this community event with BC faculty and staff!

Student speaking into microphone

Scholarship recipients included Giovanna Blakey, who attends Stockdale High School; Jeremiah Riggins, who attends Independence High School; Jahi Hudgins, who attends Highland High School; and Amaya Lawton, who also attends Highland High School. They all have grades from 3.5 to more than 4.0 and plan to attend out-of-town universities in the fall.

Student speaking into microphone

Hank Washington, former art teacher at South High School, and Alma Nealy, educator, and founding member of the local Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Links, Inc. chapters were honored with the prestigious Community Service awards. They are both examples of Black excellence through many years of professional achievements and community service.

Three people smiling next to podium

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. founded in 1906, is the oldest Greek letter organization founded by African-American men on the campus of Cornell University. The annual scholarship gala presented by the local chapter is only one of their many programs that give back to and engage the African-American community.

Student speaking into microphone

The Umoja Community program at BC is coordinated by Dr. Paula Parks and includes coursework in English, student development, and library research. Other program components are mentoring, academic and counseling support, and college trips.  

Thanks to Director of Outreach Steve Watkin, English Professor/Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks, Business Professor Valerie Robinson, Counseling staff Mrs. Mandalyn Hobbs, Educational Advisor Mr. Daron Mackey, and Umoja students for representing BC so well at this community event!

BC’s Annual Grad Fair

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its annual Grad Fair so all students could obtain their caps and gowns in preparation for Commencement. Commencement will be held on May 10 at 7 p.m. at Rabobank Arena this year due to construction on the football field.

Graduation display at BC bookstore

For students who plan to participate in next year’s commencement, summer applications are due on July 1.

Male graduate in gown holding cap

I would like to thank the bookstore staff for helping students with their commencement needs. I hope to see everyone at the graduation ceremony on May 10.

Professional Etiquette Lunch & Learn

On Tuesday, Director of Student Life Dr. Nicky Damania taught students proper business etiquette in the Levan Center in preparation for the Business Pathway Career Expo on April 24.

Nicky Damania shaking hands with male student
Dr. Nicky Damania displays proper handshake etiquette.

Dr. Damania went over some of the most important ways to conduct oneself in a business dinner. It’s important to put your napkin on your lap once you sit at your table, avoid eating everything on your plate, cut your salad into bite-sized pieces with a fork and knife, and follow the host’s lead during drinks.

Nicky Damania pulling imaginary ball out of basket
Dr. Nicky Damania shows proper table etiquette.

These guidelines may seem self-evident, but many of our students have not had business dining experience and may feel intimidated in these settings.

I’d like to thank Dr. Damania for taking the time to teach professional etiquette, and I hope to see everyone in the CSS Lawn Area for the Business Pathway Career Expo on April 24.

Latina Empowerment Panel

The Latinas Unidas Club held a panel featuring Latina Leaders in Kern County in the Levan Center on Wednesday for Dolores Huerta Day.

Five women sitting on a panel

The panel included BC history professor Olivia Garcia, ACLU Southern California Community Engagement and Policy Advocate Rosa Lopez, CSUB political science professor Ivy Cargile, Wonderful Company Director of Environmental Health and Safety Isabel Bravo, and UFW Foundation lawyer Amber Tovar.

Two women sitting at table

Latinas Unidas moderated the panel, asking questions about how they were able to overcome the struggles that come with being first-generation college students, as well as how they balanced the expectations of women in the Latina community. These women depended heavily upon the support of their friends and family, and had to learn time management to overcome obstacles on their journey through undergrad and graduate programs, as well as their careers.

Sonya Christian and others sitting

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event along with Trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and it was inspiring to hear from these strong, successful women.

Three women sitting at table and looking to their right for some reason

I’d like to thank Latinas Unidas and the Levan Center for organizing the Latina Leadership Panel, and I hope it motivates our students to see their education through to the finish line.

Si, Ella Puede!

While civil rights icon Dolores Huerta was celebrating her 89th birthday in Sacramento by commemorating a national holiday in her name, BC honored Huerta’s contributions to social justice and farm worker rights with a discussion of her most powerful speeches.

Stacey Sowards
Dr. Stacey Sowards speaks at the Levan Center.

On Wednesday, Dr. Stacey Sowards, a professor and chair of the Communication department at the University of Texas in El Paso, gave a presentation in the Levan Center based on her book “Si, Ella Puede!”, which examines the rhetorical impact of Dolores Huerta’s inspiring oratory style during the UFW grape and lettuce boycotts of the 1960s. Sowards analyzed 40 boxes of unprocessed videos, news articles and speech transcripts from the United Farm Workers archives at Wayne State University in Detroit as research for “Si, Ella Puede!”

Stacey Sowards

The Social Justice Institute organized Sowards’ presentation to celebrate Dolores Huerta Day. Sowards notes that Huerta’s ability to deftly switch between Spanish and English to reframe her message depending on her audience, as well as her use of audience participation and repetition of gritos such as “Si, Se Puede” helped people connect with the UFW’s fight for fair wages for agricultural laborers. She was also a master of using her role as a mother of 11 children to elicit sympathy for the farm worker cause, and her Catholic faith influenced her passion and relentless bravery shown in her work.

I’d like to thank Oliver Rosales and everyone who helped organize this very special presentation in honor of Dolores Huerta.

It’s ‘All in the Timing’

The Black Box Theater played host to a collection of eight one-act plays directed by Brian J. Sivesind and written by David Ives, with scenic and lighting design by Kevin Ganger.  These wildly funny short plays focused on language, wordplay, the meaning of life, and complications in romantic relationships.

All in the Timing poster

Two separate casts performed the production over five days from April 10-14, including two matinee performances on April 13 and 14 at 2 p.m.  Congratulations to all who participated for putting on these wonderful plays!

Industrial Technology and Transportation Career Expo

Our future workforce was out in full force at the Huddle Lawn Courtyard last Thursday for the Industrial Technology and Transportation Career Expo.  Several employers took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to share industry insight, promote employment or internship opportunities, and meet students interested in their industry. Employers also showcased their products and some of the equipment they work with.

ITT Career Expo tents and booths

Students from all of our ITT programs were present at the event, including Automotive, Electronics, Engineering, HVAC, Industrial Automation, Water Technology, Architecture, Construction, Industrial Drawing, Manufacturing, Occupational Safety & Risk Management, Welding, and Woodworking & Cabinetmaking.  I’m hopeful these students were able to gain some valuable knowledge to move forward in their careers.

ITT Career Expo tents and booths

I’d like to thank Carlos Medina and Katie Makaiwi for helping to make this event happen.  We are BC!

KCMEA Jazz Day

The Kern County Music Educators’ Association and the Bakersfield College Jazz Studies Program put on the fourth annual KCMEA Jazz Day at Bakersfield College on Thursday, April 11. This all-day event featured student jazz ensembles from throughout Kern County performing in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center Indoor Theater, with a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble.

BC Jazz students performing on stage
BC Jazz student playing guitar

This year’s head clinician was Dr. Ray Briggs, an accomplished saxophonist and highly-esteemed jazz educator who co-leads the Jazz Studies program at CSU Long Beach. He is also Department Chair of the Jazz Studies program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and coordinator of the Instrumental and Vocal Jazz Workshop supported through CSU Summer Arts. Dr. Briggs worked with each student ensemble and performed with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble.  They all made beautiful music together!

BC Jazz Ensemble performing on stage

MPR’s Eric Carillo was able to capture a great video of the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble performing. Also, here’s another video of Centennial High School students performing. Check them out!

BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble playing horns

Performing with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble was Jazz Day head clinician and special guest Dr. Ray Briggs, who is an Associate Professor of Music and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he coordinates the jazz combo program and teaches courses in jazz history and ethnomusicology.

Woman with interesting fashion sense singing

Master of Ceremonies Laura May from KCMEA had some great things to say about Bakersfield College, including several compliments about our programs and facilities.

I’d like to thank Kris Tiner and the entire BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble and all of the music students from throughout the county who showed up to perform at this event.  Your amazing musical ability really struck a chord with me!

‘A Taste of BC’ and the BSO Symphony

The BSO symphony concert took place after our ‘A Taste of BC’ event, where we hosted middle school students before they went to the concert. A part of the ‘A Taste of BC’ program included the student recitals.

Manny, Ira Cohen, Kari Heilman
Manny Mourtzanos with Ira Cohen (BSO Board member mastermind behind BSO Next) and Kari Heilman, Executive Director.
Manny and Dr. Scott Dirkse
Manny Mourtzanos with Dr. Scott Dirkse, one of our adjunct faculty in Music, and also a dual enrollment instructor at Stockdale High School.

Dr. Scott Dirkse, one of our adjunct faculty in Music, and also a dual enrollment instructor at Stockdale High School. He’s helping me pilot a Marching Band dual enrollment course that I hope we can scale up to all the high schools. Stockdale High admin has been very supportive. Scott does the pre-concert lectures for the BSO.

Manny and Richard Chapman, KEDC
Manny Mourtzanos schmoozing with Richard Chapman, KEDC. We’ve developed a really good relationship with our Entrepreneurship initiatives.

Check out these great videos of some of the performers!

Mauro Laris (below) is a second semester Applied Music Major. His family has a very popular local mariachi group and he has been performing most of his life. He studies with Peggy Sears who teaches at BC and CSUB. Mauro works incredibly hard, is always on time and always prepared. He is the vice-president of the College Choir and a member of the Chamber Singers. He is part of the group that traveled to Australia to perform in the Sydney Opera House last July. Mauro is not only talented but he also he a friend and support to all who know him and his huge smile and bright personality light up anyone’s day.

Patrick Bender (below) is one of our collaborative pianists at BC. He plays the piano for the choirs and the Applied Music Voice Majors.. He is incredibly talented and very dedicated to the students and the program at Bakersfield College. The choral department and Applied programs rely on Patrick and he is respected and loved by all. He also works with students at CSUB and plays the piano for the Liberty High Choirs. He has a wife and two young boys and grew up here in Bakersfield.

Fun Photos: Jen Garrett Conducts the Bakersfield Youth Symphony

Screenshot of Jen Garrett's Facebook post
Award for BCSD guest conductor 2019
Jen Garrett was the guest conductor of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony at the Rabobank Arena.
Group of symphony students

Hackathon Has Huge Turnout

The 3rd annual BC Hackathon Health and Social Justice had the largest number of competing teams to date. In less than 48 hours more than 60 students came together to create innovative tech solutions to address public health and social justice issues affecting Kern county residents.  The community panelist and judges were impressed with BC students drive for improving their communities. Judges mentioned they would gladly employ many of these students, so this was also a workforce opportunity and also an opportunity to add to student’s resumes. Overall, the Hackathon represents an opportunity for students to have a platform to stand up and help change the future of the communities. Every team that completed the competition will be receiving a certificate at the next Entrepreneurship Club meeting and their work will be highlighted in a Hackathon report to the community. Check out some of projects from the top Hackathon Winners. Congratulations to all the teams.

Group shot of Hackathon participants

Bakersfield College Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) team created the Kernal project which aims to overcome the issues that have prevented food security within Kern County. This will be done through a number of means some of which include; providing information on the documents required by various food banks, furthermore it will allow a user to enter their location and choose from the selection of food crates upon which a volunteer will deliver a food crate to the user at an agreed upon location, similar to the way apps like Lyft and Uber Eats work. The user will first be asked to complete a survey. This survey will provide the information necessary to determine which services the user is eligible for. The user will have to provide proof of eligibility upon delivery.

Students hacking on a computer

Kern Catalog for Mental Health team created a searchable and interactive catalog of all mental health resources in Kern County. Kern County citizens can search resources like “mental health screening” or “eating disorder treatment” then set filters based on their age, gender, insurance, and location. This way they’ll find resources suited just for them. By making an account on this app, they’ll also be able to bookmark favorite resources, save search filters as profiles for later use, and give feedback on resources they tried to access. The feedback system will be powered by push notifications. The app will track the resources they look into, and later send a push notifications to ask if they were able to make appointments, attend appointments, and describe their experiences at their appointments. If at any point they face obstacles, they’ll identify whether the obstacles were personal (transportation, childcare, or work schedules), or if they occurred on behalf of the resource provider (poor customer service, lack of communication, etc.) so that we can  address how to resolve these obstacles.

Students looking at laptop computer

Coding Clean Air Team proposed a concept for Coding clean airs final product is a website that will host a youth made curriculum based around making low cost affordable air monitors. Working with technical assistance we will guide youth in the process of making a curriculum about producing personal air monitors. The low cost of production will make air monitors available to nearly anyone. Aside from the curriculum, the website will also have an interactive map to upload the data from the air sensors to create community driven data with high degrees of accuracy.

Two Hackathon students holding trophies

Peer Health Educators team proposed a tab into the existing BC Renegade App, which will focus on student wellness and resources at the BC Health Center.  Bakersfield College students have claimed that they are unaware that the college provides resources for these concerning factors (e.g. the Wellness Center giving out free condoms to students) and that they are eligible to receive these services that are covered with their semester health fee. Through the addition of this tab, these services will be promoted so that students could choose to live a better quality of life.

Hackathon students and staff

Changing Perspectives is creating an innovative website that groups the most needed websites into one area. There is a specialized questionnaire that gives users the ability to narrow down which resource they need. By just answering a few questions the questionnaire will recommend a specific resource or an organization that can get them the things they need. Along with the website, a simple kiosk with a similar questionnaire will be strategically dropped in areas where the there is a high population of people at risk. Changing Perspectives will include a fingerprint scanner that will allow users to log in with the touch of a finger. A unique “chat with us” option will allow users to get help utilizing the website or kiosk, as well as get additional information about how to use the resources.

Evening in the Garden

On Thursday, I attended an Edible Schoolyard fundraising event called An Evening in the Garden, which featured an elegant dinner inspired by the flavors of the season.

Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Romeo Agbalog, and others

Chef Gino Valpredo of Luigi’s restaurant designed a custom menu, featuring provisions from Redhouse Beef, Bakers Outpost, Broadfork Acres, Flowers Winery, Zeal Pressed Juicery, and Gino’s Gelato.

Gino Valpredo

All ticket sales and donations from the event directly benefited the Edible Schoolyard Mobile Kitchen Classroom.

Group of people at Evening in the Garden event

The goal of Edible Schoolyard is to teach our students how to grow and cook fresh seasonal produce so they can cultivate a positive relationship with healthy food.  Donations help expand edible education throughout Kern County with their new mobile kitchen classroom. This classroom-on-wheels provides students in our community with the opportunity to experience hands-on edible education.

Evening in the garden menu

Thank you to Gino Valpredo and everyone involved for providing such delicious food! Thank you Barbara Grimm Marshall for all that you do for our community.

Fun Photos: BC MEChA Noche de Cultura

Two men standing by Latin artwork
Four men standing by Latin artwork

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include BC soccer players Cameron Jimenez and Reagan King who are moving their careers to the next level at New Mexico Highlands University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe respectively, and BC Soccer Coach, Scott Dameron.

Segment with Cameron Jimenez & Reagan King

Segment with Zack Peters

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (3/31 – 4/6) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.

Renegades of the Week

Paige Darstein, Women’s Tennis

At the WSC Conference Tournament this past weekend, she defeated the #2 and #3 seeds en route to the finals. Darstein also moves into the semifinal round of the doubles conference tournament with partner Kayleen Sanchez.

Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track & Field

Won both the hammer and discus at Vaquero Invite this past weekend. Obtained huge personal record in hammer with a throw of 47.0m (B standard), almost 2 meters over second place. Also took 2nd place in shot put.

23ABC features Softball’s Kylee Fahy’s story of defying the odds

Watch the story done this week by 23ABC sports reporter Kari Osep on the incredible story of Kylee Fahy’s premature birth and overcoming the odds to become the most dominant pitcher at the community college level in California. Kylee led the state in strikeouts last season with 289 and leads the state this season with 223.

Softball currently leads the Western State Conference North Division and is looking to clinch the conference championship in the coming weeks.

Roundup of Athletics Events This Week

As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click/tap for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.

  • On Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
  • On Twitter – @GoGadesGo
  • On Instagram – @gogadesgo
Sonya speaking and smiling at the lectern with the Bakersfield College seal.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Renegades enjoying spring time activities

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 6, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

BC Attends Farm Day in the City 2019

Last week, BC attended the two-day event Farm Day in the City, which was held at the Kern County Fairgrounds.  The Kern County Farm Bureau sponsored the day to help acquaint children with agriculture and the importance that it has in our community.  Over 4,000 students in grades 2-4 attended where they were introduced to farm machinery, livestock, and commodities, as well as interactive demonstrations of ag-related issues of water, safety, and pesticide use. Thanks to our Career Technical Education (CTE) group Carlos Medina, Jessica McGrath, and Denise Crawford for attending and letting students know what BC offers in regards to agriculture.  Also, thank you to Mayor Karen Goh for her unwavering support of education in our city.

BC’s Carlos Medina, Jessica McGrath and Denise Crawford with Mayor Goh.
Love these photos!

BC Hosts Faculty from Engineering University of Nicaragua

The Bakersfield College Family embraced colleagues from Central America this month when it hosted three faculty members from the National Engineering University of Nicaragua (Uni). The three professors included Donal Perez Palma from Uni’s Department of Energy, Emmanuel Jose Canda Toledo from the Department of Applied Theoretical Mechanics, and Pablo David Trejos Aguilar from the Department of Engineering in Economics and Business. The three came at the invitation of Kern Community College District Vice Chancellor of Educational Services John Means. The goal of this hands-across-the-miles outreach is to develop global and academic exchange opportunities for both faculty and students and to build understanding between the institutions.

BC Dean of Instruction Michele Bresso show visiting faculty from National Engineering University of Nicaragua the first of several stops around the 152-acre campus.

Uni leaders were especially interested in Bakersfield College’s Baccalaureate Program in Industrial Automation. As a result, the faculty members’ visit included a campus tour led by Michele Bresso, Dean of Instruction; a tour and overview of the Industrial Automation Program by BC’s Industrial Automation Lead Faculty Manny Fernandez, presentations by Industrial Automation faculty Tom Rush and Industrial Automation students Yasmeen Reyes and Jose Manriquez; an overview of the California Community Colleges by John Means, and a closing session with various BC faculty and staff to explore ways the institutions can partner in the future. At the end of the visit, Industrial Automation Program Manager Aubrey Priest presented each guest with goodie bags of Bakersfield College items as a memento of their visit.

Industrial Automation Program Lead Faculty Manny Fernandez explains the power of robots and automation in local industry to visiting faculty from Nicaragua.

We all look forward to more opportunities to work with the National Engineering University of Nicaragua as Bakersfield College models its mission to help students engage productively in the community and the world.

BC Industrial Automation student Jose Manriquez instructs visiting faculty member Donal Perez Palma on the finer points of robot control in the BC Robotics Lab.

Preparing for Hackathon

On Thursday evening, teams of students visited the Levan Center to register for this year’s Hackathon. The room was packed wall-to-wall with teams of engaged and excited students! The weekend long event encourages college students to create technology-based tools that support healthy communities, and culminates with a contest that involves each team pitching, programming, and presenting their functioning app.

This interdisciplinary collaboration inspires students from all backgrounds including technology, graphic design, communication, STEM, social science, and more to respond to specific community needs. I’m looking forward to hearing about the tools designed at this year’s competition.

Special thanks to Sarah Baron, BC’s Public Health lead faculty and champion, and special guests including Kiyoshi Timono of Adventist Health, Brynn Carrigan of Kern Public Services Health Services, Edgar Aguilar of Dignity Health, Raul Gallardo of Community Action Partnership of Kern, and Kristin Weber of Kaiser Permanente.

BC Culinary Arts Cooked for Cioppino Feed and Live Auction

Last week, BC Culinary Arts provided the food for a live auction charity benefit put together by the Bakersfield West Rotary.  Culinary Arts students prepared cioppino, an Italian-American stew originating from San Francisco that uses fish and crab meat for the charity benefit that raised approximately $80,000 for local non-profit organizations.  BC puts its unique spin on the dish with a secret sauce you can only taste from BC Culinary Arts. KGET covered the ciopinno feed and live auction in a video piece last week.

BC Chefs Alex Gomez & Susan Tangeman with Mayor Goh.

Cioppino is just one of the delectable dishes put together by our amazingly talented Culinary Arts students under the direction of faculty chefs Alex Gomez and Susan Tangeman. There are only a few more weeks left to enjoy their dishes in the Renegade Room before the end of the Spring 2019 semester. Next week, you can try their pulled pork sandwich, Thai chicken salad or meatloaf and mashed potatoes during the Wednesday lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 10, or you can go all in on their Thursday evening buffet from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on April 11, which will be themed around Pacific Rim cuisine.

BC’s Culinary Arts students
The entire BC Culinary Arts team
Chef Susan Tangeman & Michael O’Doherty

After Spring Break, there will only be two more weeks of service in the Renegade Room, and you’ll have to wait until next fall before you get the chance to try our world-class cuisine again, so make a reservation as soon as possible by calling (661) 395-4441.

Learning & Career Pathways Hosts Spring Pathways Fair

On Monday, representatives from our ten Learning and Career Pathways hosted an informational fair in the CSS Lawn Area to raise awareness of all the career opportunities available to students at BC.

BC’s Nursing Rad Tech table

Our Spring Pathways Fair also had booths for all of our student affinity groups and academic support organizations, as well as Financial Aid. Students from Industrial Automation brought a remote-controlled vehicle to pilot around the CSS Lawn, and the Mechanized Agriculture Department parked two large excavators for students to check out the type of equipment they might use if they choose to follow a Mechanized Agriculture pathway. Automotive Technology also showed off a prototype of the race car created by students in their pathway, and they’ll be driving the real car in a race with other schools at the end of the year.

Thank you to everyone who made our Spring Pathways Fair a huge success, and I hope that the students who participated learned about BC pathways to help them make an informed decision about their education.

BC Adult Ed Presents the Job Spot at CCCAOE 2019

BC Adult Ed representatives Program Manager Endee Grijalva and Educational Advisor Lupe Aguirre presented on the Job Spot this past Wednesday, along with Mark Wyatt (Principal of Bakersfield Adult School), Jodi Loeffler (BAS Supervising Admin), and Terrence Banks (Job Spot Admin). The presentation was held during the CCCAOE Spring 2019 Conference and provided some insight into the co-location serving South Bakersfield.

For those who don’t know, Job Spot brings together multiple service providers, community-based organizations and post-secondary institutions to serve adults in a 21st century learning environment. This innovative, creative space, was designed to serve community needs with a & “one stop shop” for educational (Adult School/College) and employment resources, in a setting that promotes student success.

Bidder’s Open House at Bakersfield College

The Kern Builders Exchange held its Bidder’s Open House in the BC gym on Thursday, which was a great opportunity for local contractors to come learn about over $1 billion in local construction and maintenance projects, many of which will be ready to bid on soon.  Attendees saw projects of all sizes and for all trades at the event. Bidders were also able to learn how to qualify for public work projects, obtain a timeline of upcoming projects, and gain access to resources.

Thank you to Traffic Management Incorporated for assisting with parking, and for all of the guests for attending!

We were extremely happy to facilitate this event as it was a great opportunity for attendees to network with experts and hear about all of the great projects coming up at BC. Thank you to Kern County Builders Exchange Executive Director Mikin Plummer for holding the event on BC’s campus and for keeping our local contractors informed on the various projects available.

President Christian & Mikin Plummer
President Christian & Albert Prince
Mikin Plummer, Nick Hernandez & Tamara Baker
AECOM/Parsons team
Attendees at the breakout session
Christina Springstead & Tamara Baker
John Spaulding & President Christian

Comedian Jeff Horste Visits BC

April Fool’s Day featured a comedy show for the Bakersfield College Community this year! The campus welcomed Jeff Horste and his friend and opener, Ron Taylor, for an hour of laughs. Jeff was highly sought out due to being handpicked by Kevin Hart to appear on his specials on comedy central and to open for him in the past. The audience loved Jeff’s humor and jokes, and Jeff truly enjoyed coming to our campus!

Jeff Horste performing at BC.

English Fair Meet and Greet

BC English faculty hosted a meet and greet in the Levan Center on Tuesday to inform students about all of the programs and services available through the English program.

Several booths lined the inside of the Levan Center with information about courses focusing on everything from Shakespeare, Latino literature and the Bible as literature, to English B2, which teaches advanced composition and critical thinking using J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. There were also representatives from student organizations such as the Umoja Community and the newly-created English Club. Attendees got the opportunity to participate in a raffle contest and a scavenger hunt, and there was a photo booth in the corner where people could pose with cutouts of famous literary figures.

Love this book archway!

Thank you to the English Department and everyone who put together the English Meet and Greet event. It was a wonderful chance for students to learn more about the opportunities available to them in an English pathway.

Check out all the pics at BC’s Smugmug!

Mental Health Screening at BC

On Thursday, thirteen MSW students, three faculty, and four community professional volunteers provided a Mental Health Screening Day for BC students. The screening provided students with an opportunity to find out how they scored on two different spectrums – Depression (PHQ9), and Anxiety (GAD7), and then they had the opportunity to talk at more length, including suicide assessment as needed, with the screener regarding resources and coping skills that may be beneficial to the student. In doing the screening we were able to make referrals to BC’s Student Health and Wellness Center for follow up appointments with the clinical staff there.

This is the second screening day that MSW students have provided this school year. In the fall 93 students were screened, and on Thursday they reached 102 more. That is nearly 200 BC students who have received education and resources regarding mental health and suicide prevention!

MSW students and staff at the Mental Health Screening event

I want to thank the MSW student interns who coordinated this effort this year: Natalia Hatley, Anabel Jimenez, and Jennifer Shockley. It was due to their tremendous effort and dedication to this event that it was so successful.

Emergency Responder Seminar

Public Safety Officer Jason Mattheus gave a seminar on BC’s emergency response protocol in the Levan Center on Tuesday.  Each building on campus is assigned a building marshall in the event of an emergency to ensure that everyone leaves the building and moves to designated evacuation zones. There are several alternates in the event that the designated building marshall is not present, and employees are expected to be adept in providing any kind of emergency response that is needed.

Officer Mattheus presenting at the Emergency Responder Seminar.

Each marshall has a red bag with flashlights, first aid kits and other types of emergency equipment. In an emergency event, the marshall performs a scan of the building to clear it out via a safe evacuation route and ensure that there is no structural damage, and then assigns a runner to report their findings back to the central command center in the library.

Office Mattheus demonstrating the red bag to attendees.

While the Public Safety department is able to provide support for areas of the campus that are suffering the most damage, they can’t be everywhere, so it’s up to all faculty and staff to be informed about the emergency response protocol and render first aid if necessary. Public Safety checks the emergency red bags annually, but departments should also do periodic checks of their red bags throughout the semester and report to Public Safety if anything is missing or whether the flashlight needs new batteries.  Thank you Public Safety for hosting this important seminar and everything they do to keep our campus safe.

Bakersfield College Fire Technology Department Passes Accreditation

The Bakersfield College Fire Technology Department passed its accreditation review with flying colors, according to the report by the office of the California Fire Marshall.

Mayor Goh, Tommy Tunson & President Christian at Vet Fest

On March 18, Deputy State Fire Marshall Caryn Petty visited BC’s Fire Technology facilities along with Dean Rich McCrow, Public Safety Training Director Tommy Tunson, and chiefs from the Bakersfield and Kern County fire departments, as well as Fire Academy Coordinator Alexander Clark and Fire Tech staff members Janet Mason and Karen Mattox.

The Deputy Fire Marshall reviewed BC’s Self-Assessment Report and toured all Fire Tech classrooms and training facilities. The accreditation report praised BC’s “flourishing relationships with fire agencies in Bakersfield and Kern County” and noted that the Fire Technology staff “possessed a strong devotion to complete student development from entry-level firefighters to career advancing leadership.”

I’d like to thank the Office of the State Fire Marshall for ensuring that California firefighters are adequately equipped to keep our forests and cities safe, as well as our Fire Technology and Public Safety Training departments for their dedication to teaching the next generation of heroes in the Central Valley.

Blue & Gold Day

BC has a strong commitment to helping students transfer! In Last week’s blog, I shared a bit about Blue and Gold day, but have some extra photos to share this week.  Over 20 CSUB departments and/or programs were in attendance for the day, with giveaways, raffles and lunch provided to 150 BC students, staff and faculty.  It was a fun-filled afternoon on the BC campus, with Transfer and Graduation on students’ minds. BC and CSUB partnered to celebrate students who have been admitted to CSUB for Fall 2019 and connected them to resources and programs on the CSUB campus, as well as introducing prospective students to the possibility of what lies ahead! Transfer In Triumph, Renegades!

CSUB representing at BC.
CSUB Cheerleaders
Future Roadrunner!

BC’s College Council

College Council is a collegial consultative oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters. The Council oversees implementation of the Strategic Direction’s Plan and ensures institutional quality using ongoing and systematic planning and evaluation to refine key policies and processes, and to improve student learning.

College Council filled the Levan Center on Friday, April 5th
College council gathers for the meeting